Nvidia has approached Softbank and is considering buying ARM Holdings

uzzi38

Senior member
Oct 16, 2019
894
1,104
96
Will update with articles as they come out (they haven't yet but news is public). For now just a couple of Tweets:



This is a real significant move for Nvidia, having a huge role in ARM core designs could have major implementations down the line. Most importantly, it secures them a platform and ecosystem down the line.

Oh and I guess Nvidia becomes the defacto standard for GPU IP for mobile instead of Mali. That too.

EDIT: Bloomberg article here: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-07-22/softbank-s-chip-company-arm-is-said-to-attract-nvidia-interest
 
Last edited:

DisEnchantment

Senior member
Mar 3, 2017
578
1,077
106
Fake news, Apple will never let that happen. Actually this could be a ploy to get Apple to bid.
Qualcomm, Samsung, NV, MTK etc would be uncomfortable to say the least.
Either way, lots of players will have to rethink their strategy if this go through. Whichever way this turns out, lots of questions about the future of ARM in open source.
Jeff Bezos's Annapurna Labs might even have a word to say.
 

beginner99

Diamond Member
Jun 2, 2009
4,539
885
126
Fake news, Apple will never let that happen. Actually this could be a ploy to get Apple to bid.
Ploy from who? Why would nvidia want apple to bid? I get your thinking, just when Apple decides to shed their intel shackles they get new and worse nvidia shackles. From NVs point of view this makes sense as AMD and/or intel could push them out of the market over time by making their card incompatible with their CPUs so their need their own.
 

blckgrffn

Diamond Member
May 1, 2003
6,859
158
106
www.teamjuchems.com
Apple won't care. They have a permanent license with ARM either way, their access to ARM IP is completely untouchable.

It's more of everyone else that should be worried.
Irrevocable Perpetual Architectural License. I was trying to find a really good, succinct source on this but I found it scattered around, including Wikipedia and other articles from when Softbank acquired ARM back in 2016.

I think it's fairly safe to say that the only reason that Apple *might* care is that for marketing reasons - if ARM were to "fail" or something (nvidia really seizing on branding everything ARM powered is powered in actuality by nvidia) that might make them look foolish? My guess their answer to this lack of control is the new Apple Silicon branding. It's not ARM (or nvidia, or SoftBank or whatever), it's Apple Silicon. ;)

Sending a check to nvidia for every iDevice sold might make some people salty, but if they can't justify it to their shareholders they will unlikely act from an emotional standpoint.

"Companies with a 64-bit ARMv8-A architectural license include Applied Micro, Broadcom, Cavium, Huawei, Nvidia, AMD, Qualcomm, Samsung and Apple." (per Wikipedia)
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Tlh97 and uzzi38

Roland00Address

Golden Member
Dec 17, 2008
1,929
64
91
Irrevocable Perpetual Architectural License. I was trying to find a really good, succinct source on this but I found it scattered around, including Wikipedia and other articles from when Softbank acquired ARM back in 2016.
-----
"Companies with a 64-bit ARMv8-A architectural license include Applied Micro, Broadcom, Cavium, Huawei, Nvidia, AMD, Qualcomm, Samsung and Apple." (per Wikipedia)
64-bit ARMv8-A is now "old school" what about ARMv9? (seriously asking for my knowledge is incomplete.)

From my understanding we are likely to get v9.0 announced sometime this year in 2020 (Anandtech was talking about it being imminent as of June 2020) and Matterhorn (ARM default silicon based around v9.0) sometime in 2021?
 

blckgrffn

Diamond Member
May 1, 2003
6,859
158
106
www.teamjuchems.com
64-bit ARMv8-A is now "old school" what about ARMv9? (seriously asking for my knowledge is incomplete.)

From my understanding we are likely to get v9.0 announced sometime this year in 2020 (Anandtech was talking about it being imminent as of June 2020) and Matterhorn (ARM default silicon based around v9.0) sometime in 2021?
Great question. I have not idea where those discussions/negotiations are at. This would seem to be a make or break situation on getting other companies to transition.
 

amd6502

Senior member
Apr 21, 2017
796
255
106
Not joking, Apple hates nVidia so much they would move off ARM if nVidia bought it.
For what reason would a company 'hate'? They don't even compete in the same markets.

I think ARM+Nvidia is actually a sensible match, and since Nvidea doesn't sell mobile telephones there wouldn't be the same anti-trust issue as with Apple+Arm.

If Nvidia is serious then I actually can see Acorn moving to the desktop. They have the sort of clout that could make this happen. (High end GPU, coupled with Acorn developing bigger and bigger higher performance cores).
 
  • Like
Reactions: VirtualLarry

dullard

Elite Member
May 21, 2001
22,325
690
126
Nvidia's stock has gone up 20x in the last few years with the boom in blockchain. It would be a good use to lock in the gains of this temporary stock boost.
 

Doug S

Senior member
Feb 8, 2020
250
301
96
Not nVidia, Softbank. Qualcomm would be bad for Apple too but there's no company Apple hates more than nVidia.
It doesn't make any possible difference to Apple who owns ARM. As others have already pointed out, their ARMv8 license cannot be revoked, nor the price increased beyond whatever terms are present in the contract. The only difference it might make is if whoever buys them tries to increase the cost of an architectural license for ARMv9 then Apple might say 'no thanks' and stick with v8. Though for all we know they've already got a signed deal for v9.

I can't imagine what could possibly be added in v9 that would make sticking with v8 if it came to that any sort of a problem. The importance of going v8 was obvious, the transition to 64 bits needed to happen and it cleaned up some ickiness in the older ISAs. There won't be any "must have" with v9 that makes staying on v8 a problem like it would have been to be forced to stay on v7.

Whether Apple "hates" Nvidia or not is irrelevant. Ownership of ARM Ltd has no real value to Apple, they aren't going to consider getting involved based on who might become ARM's new owner. Their dislike of Nvidia, if any, is over the 'bumpgate' thing which is water under the bridge now. Apple and NVidia don't compete with each other in any way so they don't have any reason to care about each other anymore.
 

JasonLD

Senior member
Aug 22, 2017
253
203
86
There's a lot of bad blood, probably more than just bumpgate and patent lawsuits. Apple's even gone out of their way to prevent nVidia from releasing updated OSX graphics drivers for people using eGPUs.
Nvidia's CUDA is in direct conflict with Apple's ambition of pushing everything Metal on Macs. While there is a bit of bad blood between them, they don't make business decisions out of emotion.
Apple wouldn't care as long as it doesn't affect them. Apple only licenses ARM iP and doesn't even use any of ARM's reference designs. Even if Nvidia acquires ARM, they can't change ARM's licensing model unless they want to deal with lot of antitrust lawsuits worldwide.
 

Doug S

Senior member
Feb 8, 2020
250
301
96
Nvidia's CUDA is in direct conflict with Apple's ambition of pushing everything Metal on Macs. While there is a bit of bad blood between them, they don't make business decisions out of emotion.
Apple wouldn't care as long as it doesn't affect them. Apple only licenses ARM iP and doesn't even use any of ARM's reference designs. Even if Nvidia acquires ARM, they can't change ARM's licensing model unless they want to deal with lot of antitrust lawsuits worldwide.
They could change ARM's licensing model all they want, but only for FUTURE cores and architectures. There's no antitrust concerns over raising prices, companies do that all the time, and ARM is hardly the only architecture out there. If they raised their prices too much then many of ARM's customers stay where their at (with existing cores/architectures) while they consider alternatives like MIPS or RISC-V for the future. Though I think Apple would be fine sticking with ARMv8 if it came to that.

There is no CUDA vs Metal conflict. Metal exists only on Apple products, and NVidia does not exist on Apple products (except older ones that are reaching obsolescence at this point) Apple is never going to try to push Metal on PCs, so why should NVidia feel Metal is a threat to them?
 

JasonLD

Senior member
Aug 22, 2017
253
203
86
There is no CUDA vs Metal conflict. Metal exists only on Apple products, and NVidia does not exist on Apple products (except older ones that are reaching obsolescence at this point) Apple is never going to try to push Metal on PCs, so why should NVidia feel Metal is a threat to them?
I was strictly talking about within Mac ecosystem.
 

chrisjames61

Senior member
Dec 31, 2013
596
306
136
Ploy from who? Why would nvidia want apple to bid? I get your thinking, just when Apple decides to shed their intel shackles they get new and worse nvidia shackles. From NVs point of view this makes sense as AMD and/or intel could push them out of the market over time by making their card incompatible with their CPUs so their need their own.
You misunderstood what he said. It means it is a ploy by Softbank to get Apple interested by floating that they have a potential bidder. It doesn't mean Nvidia wants Apple to bid lol!
 

JasonLD

Senior member
Aug 22, 2017
253
203
86
NVidia hasn't existed in the Mac ecosystem for how many years now? I'm sure they've given up any ideas of pushing CUDA on the Mac long ago.
Yeah, because CUDA is in direct conflict with pushing Metal everything on Macs. Apple basically pushed out Nvidia from their ecosystem.

Back to the topic, I can see the potential benefits of Arm acquisition, but I don't think it is worth the price tag though.
 

soresu

Golden Member
Dec 19, 2014
1,324
520
136
Will update with articles as they come out (they haven't yet but news is public). For now just a couple of Tweets:



This is a real significant move for Nvidia, having a huge role in ARM core designs could have major implementations down the line. Most importantly, it secures them a platform and ecosystem down the line.

Oh and I guess Nvidia becomes the defacto standard for GPU IP for mobile instead of Mali. That too.

EDIT: Bloomberg article here: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-07-22/softbank-s-chip-company-arm-is-said-to-attract-nvidia-interest
This could be nVidia reacting to the Samsung RDNA news.

nVidia won't want AMD succeeding where they failed in mobile, even if it's only through licensing their GPU IP to others.
 

soresu

Golden Member
Dec 19, 2014
1,324
520
136
64-bit ARMv8-A is now "old school" what about ARMv9? (seriously asking for my knowledge is incomplete.)
It's not old school yet, not even remotely.

It's still state of the art until there is at least 1, or even 2 generations of v9-A cores both big and little on the market.

Even then, I believe that v8-A code, at least v8-A A64 will remain compatible in the v9-A ISA based cores, much as v7-A is still supported by v8-A now

But I believe that v7-A (A32) support will finally be deprecated in hardware at least for v9-A, probably relegated to software emulation for the few apps that have lazy developers who haven't already made the jump to v8-A A64 backends.

Both Apple first and then Google later were keen to enforce new apps and app updates be A64 only within the last few years, and I believe that this was at least part of the reason beyond platform tech support headaches.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY