Question Qualcomm's first Nuvia based SoC - Hamoa

Doug S

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Feb 8, 2020
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Unless the dueling lawsuits are resolved before then, Qualcomm might not be able to sell it and even if they can OEMs might shy away for fear of being sued by ARM or it being pulled off the market by a judge's ruling at some point.
 

FlameTail

Senior member
Dec 15, 2021
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Unless the dueling lawsuits are resolved before then, Qualcomm might not be able to sell it and even if they can OEMs might shy away for fear of being sued by ARM or it being pulled off the market by a judge's ruling at some point.
ARM is shooting themselves in the foot here. Even worse, they want Qualcomm to destroy the Nuvia IP. WHAT!?

That Nuvia IP might very well be the key for ARM to break into the PC market with full force and end the reign of x86.

What is ARM thinking ?
 

Thala

Golden Member
Nov 12, 2014
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ARM is shooting themselves in the foot here. Even worse, they want Qualcomm to destroy the Nuvia IP. WHAT!?

That Nuvia IP might very well be the key for ARM to break into the PC market with full force and end the reign of x86.

What is ARM thinking ?
I would assume ARM was forced into this by their owner, because Softbank surely appreciates making quick money.
 

Roland00Address

Platinum Member
Dec 17, 2008
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ARM is shooting themselves in the foot here. Even worse, they want Qualcomm to destroy the Nuvia IP. WHAT!?

That Nuvia IP might very well be the key for ARM to break into the PC market with full force and end the reign of x86.

What is ARM thinking ?
A tool they do not control is not a tool that makes them money. They may make some money but it would be a fraction of what they could make, if Qualcomm figured a way to skirt the licensing arrangement. This is because ARM makes more money the larger the core they sell.
 

KompuKare

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Jul 28, 2009
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I would assume ARM was forced into this by their owner, because Softbank surely appreciates making quick money.
So much for Japanese companies taking a long term view.
Yes, the may want to re-negotiate the royalties, but killing of the most promising ARM core (outside of Apple) would be to their long-term loss.
 

Doug S

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Feb 8, 2020
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So much for Japanese companies taking a long term view.
Yes, the may want to re-negotiate the royalties, but killing of the most promising ARM core (outside of Apple) would be to their long-term loss.

ARM is not owned by Softbank but by the Vision Fund, which Softbank founded and owns a large share of (Saudi Arabia's public investment fund owns the largest chunk) It basically operates like a venture capital fund, so high risk high reward strategies like what ARM appears to be doing (if Qualcomm's claims are true) fit right in.

The reason (founder/chairman) Son is a multibillionaire is he was a very early investor in Alibaba, and made something like a 3000x return on millions invested, so he knows about high risk high reward investments!
 

FlameTail

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Dec 15, 2021
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And I also hope they adopt a sensible naming scheme "Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3" is bad enough. With a large Apple M1-like SoC of that type, there is going to be various SKUs with different frequencies and core counts.
 

senttoschool

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Jan 30, 2010
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ARM is shooting themselves in the foot here. Even worse, they want Qualcomm to destroy the Nuvia IP. WHAT!?

That Nuvia IP might very well be the key for ARM to break into the PC market with full force and end the reign of x86.

What is ARM thinking ?
You need to understand how ARM works.

ARM licenses two things mainly:

1. The ARM ISA
2. Core and IP designs

Apple only license the ISA for Apple Silicon. Qualcomm licenses both the ISA and core designs. Qualcomm pays ARM money to license their core designs. With Nuvia, Qualcomm won't have to pay ARM for core designs anymore.

In addition, if Nuvia dominates ARM designs in performance, then companies such as Mediatek won't be able to compete because people will want to buy Nuvia-based devices. Mediatek also uses ARM core designs and pays a fee to ARM by device sold.

Licensing core designs is much more profitable than just licensing the ISA for ARM.

Nuvia is a huge threat to ARM.
 
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Thibsie

Senior member
Apr 25, 2017
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You need to understand how ARM works.

ARM licenses two things mainly:

1. The ARM ISA
2. Core and IP designs

Apple only license the ISA for Apple Silicon. Qualcomm licenses both the ISA and core designs. Qualcomm pays ARM money to license their core designs. With Nuvia, Qualcomm won't have to pay ARM for core designs anymore.

In addition, if Nuvia dominates ARM designs in performance, then companies such as Mediatek won't be able to compete because people will want to buy Nuvia-based devices. Mediatek also uses ARM core designs and pays a fee to ARM by device sold.

Licensing core designs is much more profitable than just licensing the ISA for ARM. Hence, if Nuvia designs are as good as Apple's, then ARM will lose a huge customer in Qualcomm, and will lose royalties from companies like Mediatek due to Nuvia dominating non-Apple sales.

Nuvia is a huge threat to ARM.
Ok but in the past, didn't QC produce their own core designs ? If so, that would just be back to a precious situation and at that time ARM wasn't annoyed that much so...
 
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LightningZ71

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Mar 10, 2017
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There were multiple "tiers" to the core design license. ARM cores (at least used to be) are like lego blocks to some extent. ARM can sell you a complete top to bottom design with cache sizes, functional unit layouts, etc, that you can have taped and produced at several different places. they can also license to you a stack of functional units and the needed IP to use them together, but you get to decide how you arrange them, how many of them that you use, how big your internal caches are, and other features inside of the core. That's where QC was, they were using a bunch of ARM IP for hardware, but they were adding some of their own logic, choosing how their caches and buffers were sized and arranged, and using some setups that weren't standard ARM. Sometimes it payed off for them, sometimes, ARM's design was better than what they came up with in practice. Eventually, ARM's cores got good enough that they couldn't justify internally developing them further than ARM was and disbanded their own in house CPU core team.

And, of course, there's Apple's license, which just lets them use the ARM ISA and several fundamental associated technologies in perpetuity with the ability to add and subtract to them as needed without ever having to pass it by ARM. I believe that their trade for getting that license is that they aren't allowed to sell their processors to third parties, which suits them fine anyway.

And that's the big issue here. Nuvia had a license that's similar to Apple's in spirit for their own products for certain segments which would have allowed them to sell server chips to integrators. QC has the "you only get the vanilla cores" license, but could sell in the broader market. QC maintains that by purchasing Nuvia, they inherited the licensing from Nuvia to use Nuvia's cores in anything they sell. There's a whole lot more nuance to this, and there are lawyers earning enough money to retire for life on this case I'm sure.
 

Doug S

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Ok but in the past, didn't QC produce their own core designs ? If so, that would just be back to a precious situation and at that time ARM wasn't annoyed that much so...
The core designs they produced before were no better (and sometimes worse) than ARM designed cores. Some will claim the difference is that Qualcomm cores (from Nuvia) are better now, but I still think there must be some language in these agreements about transfer of IP since that's what ARM keeps harping on in their filings and what Qualcomm's filings seem to dismiss.

If the language was absolutely crystal clear in either direction it would be tough to fight in court, so I'm guessing there's enough ambiguity that lawyers on both sides can attempt to argue their side is right. Too bad we can't see that language, if nothing else so we can armchair lawyer it and attempt to guess which side has a stronger position.
 

scineram

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Nov 1, 2020
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There were multiple "tiers" to the core design license. ARM cores (at least used to be) are like lego blocks to some extent. ARM can sell you a complete top to bottom design with cache sizes, functional unit layouts, etc, that you can have taped and produced at several different places. they can also license to you a stack of functional units and the needed IP to use them together, but you get to decide how you arrange them, how many of them that you use, how big your internal caches are, and other features inside of the core. That's where QC was, they were using a bunch of ARM IP for hardware, but they were adding some of their own logic, choosing how their caches and buffers were sized and arranged, and using some setups that weren't standard ARM. Sometimes it payed off for them, sometimes, ARM's design was better than what they came up with in practice. Eventually, ARM's cores got good enough that they couldn't justify internally developing them further than ARM was and disbanded their own in house CPU core team.

And, of course, there's Apple's license, which just lets them use the ARM ISA and several fundamental associated technologies in perpetuity with the ability to add and subtract to them as needed without ever having to pass it by ARM. I believe that their trade for getting that license is that they aren't allowed to sell their processors to third parties, which suits them fine anyway.

And that's the big issue here. Nuvia had a license that's similar to Apple's in spirit for their own products for certain segments which would have allowed them to sell server chips to integrators. QC has the "you only get the vanilla cores" license, but could sell in the broader market. QC maintains that by purchasing Nuvia, they inherited the licensing from Nuvia to use Nuvia's cores in anything they sell. There's a whole lot more nuance to this, and there are lawyers earning enough money to retire for life on this case I'm sure.
That isn't what QC claims. They terminated the Nuvia arch license after purchase. But the Nuvia core designs are not Arm property. They have zero claim to that, hence QC is free to use them as sole owner.
 

FlameTail

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Dec 15, 2021
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You know that we already have a thread about that legal battle with some very interesting and thoughtful posts?
Indeed, I am well aware, as I myself have posted on that thread😆

But I guess any discussion about Qualcomm's upcoming chips will inevitably steer towards the lawsuit and it's prospects.
 

senttoschool

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Jan 30, 2010
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Ok but in the past, didn't QC produce their own core designs ? If so, that would just be back to a precious situation and at that time ARM wasn't annoyed that much so...
Sure. And ARM designs beat custom Qualcomm designs. Eventually, Qualcomm was just happy to use ARM designs. Now they're trying again to differentiate by building custom cores.

Anyways, a lot of people here did not understand the implication of Nuvia designs beating ARM designs. It's a mega threat to ARM, the company. Imagine if Qualcomm's custom cores are that much better than ARM cores. Unlike Apple, which only puts Apple Silicon in their own devices, Qualcomm will be happy to sell their Nuvia chips to anyone who wants to buy it.
 

Thibsie

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Apr 25, 2017
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But legally QC designs beating Arm designs now and not before changes nothing on the legal front.
If Arm was happy before, it will be harder to argue suddenly there's a problem.
 
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NTMBK

Lifer
Nov 14, 2011
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Sure. And ARM designs beat custom Qualcomm designs. Eventually, Qualcomm was just happy to use ARM designs. Now they're trying again to differentiate by building custom cores.

Anyways, a lot of people here did not understand the implication of Nuvia designs beating ARM designs. It's a mega threat to ARM, the company. Imagine if Qualcomm's custom cores are that much better than ARM cores. Unlike Apple, which only puts Apple Silicon in their own devices, Qualcomm will be happy to sell their Nuvia chips to anyone who wants to buy it.
Then ARM should compete by producing better designs.
 

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