Qualcomm says the arm wants to change its business model

Two days later, the article denounced by the Registry is published, according to which Arm The English company, which designs the architectures for most CPUs, GPUs, and NPUs, will design the ones found in today’s smartphones, tablets, wearables, and other PCs. completely disrupted the market stop licensing of chipmakers, directly targeting Nisl device makers . At the moment, they were required to pay royalties for each piece of equipment sold.

First of all, a clarification to avoid name confusion: with ARM in capital letters, we refer to the type of architecture CPU or Advanced RISC Machines; The name of the company is now said to be armare, which naturally derives from architecture, but as that name seemed to be cautious for some reason.

It is easy to imagine how this move will completely change the balance of the sector; Nevertheless it is difficult to determine to what extent this is true and what the practical effects may be . In the meantime, we must analyze the source: the registry managed to return the accusation to Qualcomm, within the framework of the legal procedure, in which the two companies dispute the acquisition of NuVIA by Qualcomm. Arm generally believes that Qualcomm cannot use chips designed by ARM NUVIA without their permission and has filed a complaint about it. The problem is that the designs developed in NUVIA only come from intellectual property licensed from Arm.

The document, which can be consulted by following the SOURCE link at the end of the article, is generally very long and complex, but point 253 on page 78 is interesting because it relates to the topic of this article. In practice, A business model change now seems certain : Qualcomm, in fact, simply disputes that Arm said that he had already notified Qualcomm of his intentions. In practice, it is not that Qualcomm accuses Brachi of wanting to change its business model and denies it: the two companies (or at least seem to agree) on this point, but disagree on who advised whom.

He asked for clarification on the subject; Arm said only that Qualcomm’s statement was “riddled with inaccuracies.” which he will explain in more detail in his argument, which is now in preparation. Therefore, it neither admits nor denies its intention to interact directly with device manufacturers. But the Qualcomm processor is already available. The US chipmaker claims to know of at least one manufacturer that was contacted by ARM with communication of the new terms.

If manufacturers don’t agree to pay royalties, they won’t be able to install chips in their devices after the current ARM deal. which in Qualcomm’s case will launch in 2025 (this is also at issue in the dispute: Qualcomm says it has the right, under the contract signed by Arm, to extend these agreements for several years).

It’s potentially even more serious: again, according to Qualcomm. The arm will also prevent the placement of “custom” elements such as GPU, NPU, etc., forcing all manufacturers to use only their original systems. As we know, the market is full of such cases: there are, for example, Qualcomm’s custom Adreno GPUs, Qualcomm’s custom Kryo CPU cores, Samsung has just started implementing AMD RDNA GPUs in its high-end Exynos , used by Google. Custom NPU on your Tensor board. In fact, MediaTek is the only one slavishly armed with multimedia devices, at least when it comes to the most prestigious segment of the market.

So far everything is clear, however What are the effects? for the semiconductor industry and therefore really the whole world of consumer electronics ? Unfortunately, we must be stuck here. Right now, there just isn’t enough information to understand concretely what could be done in the industry. Say: Who is the producer of these things? What role will chipmakers like Qualcomm and MediaTek play in this future? Also: is it really true that it is as reliable as Qualcomm describes it, and not the strategic counter-argument that the two companies have put up to get it?

In summary, there are many open questions, and it is important to note that The arm has been in a slightly more difficult position for several years. . Softbank, the Japanese giant that now owns it, wants to sell it, and NVIDIA had attempted a takeover: the deal lasted over a year and ultimately fell through, apparently (or so they think). Arm and NVIDIA) also due to Qualcomm’s statements, which persuaded several (mainly English) antitrust authorities to intervene.

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