ARM created a business model for itself where they had to act as a "BDFL" for the ARM architecture and IP. They made an architecture, CPU designs, and GPU designs for others. They had no stake in the chip making game, and they had others - Samsung, Apple, Nvidia, Qualcomm, Huawei, Mediatek, Rockchip and loads of others make the chip. Their business model was to make the ARM ecosystem accessible for as many companies as possible, so they could sell as many licenses as possible. In that way, ARM's business model enabled a very diverse and thriving ARM market. I think this is the sole reason we see ARM eating the chip world today.
This business model would continue to work perfectly fine as a privately held company, or being owned by a faceless investor company that wants you to make as much money as possible. But it's not fine if you are owned by a company that wants to use you to control their own position in the chip market. There is no way Nvidia (any other chip company, but as laid out previously Nvidia might even be more concerning) will spend 40 billion on this without them deliberately or inadvertently destroying ARM's open CPU and GPU ecosystem. Will Nvidia allow selling ARM licenses to competitors of Nvidia's business? Will Nvidia reserve ARM's best IP as a selling point for its own chips? Will Nvidia allow Mali to continue existing? Any innovations ARM made previously it sold to anyone mostly indiscriminatorily (outside of legal restrictions), but now every time the question must be asked "does Nvidia have a better propietary purpose for this?". For any ARM chip maker the situation will be that Nvidia is both your ruthless competitor, but it also sells you the IP you need to build your chips.
EDIT: ARM's interests up to last week were to create and empower as many competitors for Nvidia as possible. They were good at that and was the root of the success of the ARM ecosystem. That incentive is completely gone now.
Unless Nvidia leaves ARM alone (and why would they spend $40B on that??), this has got to be the beginning of the end of ARM's golden age.
- It will know of their product plans (as they will need to buy licenses for new products).
- It will know their sales volumes by product (as they will need to pay fees for each Arm CPU sold).
- If they need technical help from Arm in designing a new SoC then the details of that engagement will be available to Nvidia.
How does this not give Nvidia an completely unfair advantage?
But I do think it's important that we recognize that we're going from a position of tremendous competitiveness to a much less competitive situation. And that will be a situation where ARM will be tightly controlled and much less inducive to the innovation we've seen in the last years.
Hi! Counterexample here.
Especially because of the x86 oligopoly I would think that Arm is so much more important as an ecosystem.
IIRC you watch the "Rise of the Centaur" documentary they talk about the Intel lawsuit, and the corresponding counter suit that they won. Which makes the whole thing sound like MAD.
More interesting there is https://en.wikichip.org/wiki/zhaoxin/kaixian
In some ways, it actually frees them up a bit; as they don't have to reciprocate any efforts with Intel. Which they tried to leverage with their Padlock technology. Unfortunately, their marketshare limits any real practical usage of those benefits.
Uuuuh, presumably the case was about patents, right? I don't see how cleanroom-ing is fine with regard to patents.
Summary: Cyrix (and subsequently, VIA) have an implied license to Intel's patents; allowing them to develop x86 hardware.
How that differs from AMD: AMD and Intel have a full cross-license on technologies. This means, AMD can utilize Intel resources to integrate AVX-512, a ring-bus, etc (and vice versa).
VIA can not. They must develop those technologies independently, in a compatible manner.
Oddly enough, integrated circuits have their own IP scheme. IP has copyright, patent right, trade secrets, trademarks, and mask works. You rarely learn about mask works, since they're so narrow.
I think a lot of this would hinge on that corner of the law.
The problem with waiting for the patents to expire is you're always stuck 20 years behind.
Being 20 years behind isn't a particularly big deal if those 20 years are basically just SSE3, SSE4, AVX.
But, given the high market share of Arm in several markets allowing one firm the ability to use that market share to gain competitive advantage in related markets seems to me to be deeply problematic.
- They don't license because they can make a lot more money manufacturing the chips themselves.
- AMD also has the right to x86 because Intel originally allowed them to build x86 compatible chips (some customers insisted on a 'second source' for cpus) and following legal action and settlements between the two companies over the years there is now a comprehensive cross licensing agreement in place. 
- Note that AMD actually designed the 64 bit version x86 that is used in most laptops / desktops and servers these days.
IBM required it. It was their business MO to protect themselves from losing access to a technology or having the market be dictated by one company. Intel acquiesced so that they would be the architecture of the IBM PC-series.
Intel did change sockets as a means to disallow socket-compatibility; forcing consumers into their architecture if they bought their motherboard, but that had no effect on AMD's development. AMD had purchased a significant share of DEC's engineering portfolio and, along with it, their employees. Those employees then developed the K7 (Athlon) architecture around some of the Alpha's technological advantages, which included HyperTransport, a multi-issue FPU (fixing one of the major issues AMD had struggled with and bringing them ahead of Intel), etc.
Not that they would complain if AMD lost their license or ceased existing, they just don't seem to actively be trying to cancel the license at this point.
Only in countries with poor regulators like the states does it work like this.
It works like that in Japan: say hello to the many giant conglomerates that rule their economy top to bottom.
It works like that in South Korea: say hello to Samsung, roughly 12% of South Korea's GDP in a given year (Walmart by contrast is equal to 2.5% of US GDP, and that's crazy big).
It works like that in Germany: say hello to a parade of big old industrial giants that have dominated their economy for most of the past century and will continue to.
It works like that in China, openly so: they intentionally go out of their way to promote giant national champions at the expense of everyone else.
It works like that in France: their largest corporations and richest individuals are even larger in relation to their economy and national wealth than they are in the US (say hello to Arnault, Bettencourt, Pinault and the Wertheimers).
It works like that in Russia: say hello to the countless, directly state protected oligarchs. Threaten their interests, you die. Their approach is super simple.
It works like that in Italy and Spain, which are both dominated by old, large corporations and family interests. Which heavily explains their forever economic stagnation.
It even works like that in Switzerland: ever see how large their financial companies are in relation to the economy? Who do you think actually runs Switzerland? Their banks are comically outsized versus the size of the economy.
It completely works like that in Brazil and India.
It works like that across all of the Middle East, to a much greater degree than most anywhere else.
It works like that in second tier economies, including: Poland, Mexico, Argentina, Romania, Turkey, Thailand.
It works like that in poor countries, including: Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines, Ukraine, South Africa, Pakistan, Bangladesh.
Might and reality is not right.
We need competition. We adore competition. And even the countries you quote many do have competition. You just do not innovate and of course one can try to stop and rest. But the works does not.
Be water not mountain my friend.
How exactly is this only like in the states?
In reality Arm commoditised in many markets CPUs by making reasonable designs available to all at reasonable cost, keeping control over the ISA and allowing firms to innovate in their implementations. You can have the same code running on a Raspberry PI, an iPhone and a 64 core Graviton2 server.
The Nvidia takeover threatens all this by giving control to a firm who could well 'unlevel' the playing field and even refuse to offer the latest IP to competitors.
RISC-V may provide a way out for firms unhappy with Nvidia but it could be a bumpy path. And its certainly not the case that Nvidia are paying $40bn to consolidate Mali with their own graphics IP.
NO! That is how the world does NOT work!
We seen it trillion times, I am disappointed the least seeing this negligent 'argument' for blocking dominance! Shame!
Samsung comes to mind as another company that makes their own TVs, phones, SSDs, ect., but is also perfectly happy to license the underlying screens and chips in those products to other companies. From my vantage point, the setup seems to be working well?
EDIT: Let's be clear that ARM's incentive last week was to create and empower as many competitors for Nvidia as possible. They were good at that and was the root of the success of the ARM ecosystem. That incentive is completely gone now.
I'm guessing Samsung has a track record where I'd feel a little more confidence in the situation if they'd taken over ARM here, but in general ARM's sale to Softbank and thereby its exposure to lesser competitive interests has been terrible. They could have remained a private company.
Well, the optimistic reason would be talent-share. nVidia has a lot of chip designers, and ARM has a lot of chip designers, and having all of them under one organization where they can share discoveries, research and ideas could benefit all of nVidia's products.
Buying ARM not only allows them to control the direction of development, it also protects them should anyone else have bought it with hostile intent.
Personally I see this as more of an attack on Intel.
I likewise don't think destroying the ARM ecosystem is Nvidia's primary objective here - far from it. It might not even be a secondary objective. But I do think the ARM ecosystem will be slowly torn apart either as an innocent bystander or as a less prominent secondary objective (given real-world complexities, probably some combination of both). When Nvidia buys ARM, and they explicitly buy them to improve their competitive position, there's only one direction where I see the incentives going. Those will be against the open ARM ecosystem, which is a breeding ground for big and small competition against Nvidia.
Even if Nvidia's primary motives are relatively benign, I think they'll inevitably create a sitation where the ARM ecosystem can't continue existing in its current form. That's where the real tragedy will be.
The problem is more with smaller companies that could be destroyed before they even get a chance to compete. Those can be bullied pretty easily by a company the size of Samsung.
Not the one to rule them all is the key to every innovation.
It must be probably weird for Apple technical staff to communicate so closely with one division of Samsung while fighting for market share with another division of the same company.
What markup does Apple pay for Samsung OLED displays compared to Samsung’s other OLED customers? I think this is highly relevant if you want to use it as an example. Because if the markup for Apple is 5x that of other buyers of Samsung OLED displays then you certainly can’t say Samsung is “happy” to sell them to Apple.
Same for nVidia-owned-ARM: if they’re happy to sell ARM licenses at 5x the previous price, then that will surely increase sales for nVidia’s own chips. I guess my overall point is: a sufficiently high asking price is equivalent to a refusal to sell.
obviously nobody but Samsung and their customers will know that information, and anyone who could reveal it is under NDA.
Apparently the prices are good enough that Apple doesn't go elsewhere.
A bidding war of course.
On the surface, it's capitalism at work. In reality, Samsung winds up in a no-lose situation. If Motorola wins, Samsung gets bigger margins due to the battle. If Samsung wins, they play "pass around the money" with their accountants, but their only actual costs are those of production.
I'd note that chaebol wouldn't exist in a free market. They rely on corruption of the Korean government.
There's a whole lot of inertia for Nvidia to take advantage of here while the rest of the industry figures out where it's going.
I doubt Nvidia would substantially disrupt or cancel licensing to the many third-rate chip designers you listed. But, if they can leverage this acquisition to build Windows/Linux CPUs that can actually compete with AMD and Intel, that would be a win for consumers. And Nvidia has shown interest in this in the past.
Yes, its a massive disruption to the status quo. But it may be a good one for consumers.
This is nothing to do with extending Nvidia's ability to use Arm IP in its own products.
Yes, ARM mostly just does licensing, but it may turn out that this acquisition gives Nvidia positive influence over future ISA and fundamental design changes which emerge from their own experience building microprocessors.
Maybe that just benefits Nvidia, or maybe all of their licenses; I don't know. But, I think the high price of this acquisition should signal that Nvidia wants ARM for more than just collecting royalties (or, jesus, the people here who think they're going to cancel the licenses or something, that's a wild prediction).
The other important point is Mali, which has a very obvious and natural synergy with Nvidia's wheelhouse. Another example of Nvidia making ARM better; Nvidia is the leader in graphics, this is no argument, so their ability to positively influence Mali (whether by actually improving it, or replacing it with something GeForce) may be beneficial to the OEMs who use it.
In my view you have this completely backwards. I think the opposite is true and that Nvidia is not a powerhouse CPU designer at all. They make extremely impressive GPUs certainly, but that does not automatically translate to great capabilities in CPUs. In terms of CPUs they have so far either used standard ARM designs and have attempted their own Project Denver custom architecture which are not bad but have not impressed CPU wise either. In this area Nvidia would need ARM - primarily for themselves.
> The other important point is Mali, which has a very obvious and natural synergy with Nvidia's wheelhouse. Another example of Nvidia making ARM better; Nvidia is the leader in graphics, this is no argument, so their ability to positively influence Mali (whether by actually improving it, or replacing it with something GeForce) may be beneficial to the OEMs who use it.
I know you're only entertaining the thought, but the image of Nvidia shipping HDL designs of Geforce IP to Samsung or Mediatek in the short term future seems completely alien to me. Things would need to change drastically at Nvidia for them to ever do this.
Certainly Nvidia has the capabilities to sell way better graphics to the ARM ecosystem, and very likely only one line of GPUs can survive, but it just seems extremely unlike Nvidia to ever license Geforce IP to their competitors.
I don't believe they ever closed a deal, but clearly Nvidia had some interest in becoming an IP vendor. Perhaps the terms were too onerous or the price too high.
Since Ampere and GPUs in general are structured nothing like a microprocessor, I doubt you'll find anyone who agrees with that.
On the Intel side, the process obstacles have been tragic, but they have plenty of hot products and plenty of x86 market share to lose, or in other words, plenty of time to recover CPU performance dominance.
Apple has pulled this off about 4 times because of their small market share and willingness to deprecate old hardware, software and the close control of the hardware they release.|
In the PC world - x86 will remain with us for a LONG time to come.
But why would a company spend that much money to buy a company and destroy it afterwards?
Personally I don't think that's true in this particular case, but the strategy isn't exactly unheard of.
Just look at ARMs annual net, multiply by 10, multiply that by 2 assuming starry-eyed optimism about you being better at generating value from ARM IP, you’re still far from 40 billion.
Why is that bad? Not only it's common business practice (the more you buy from us, the cheaper we sell), it also makes sense from the support perspective. Support the integration between their cores and a different GPU would be more work for them than integration of their cores with their own GPUs.
That's why companies expand to adjacent markets: efficiency.
A completely different thing would be to say: "if you want our latest AXX core, you have to buy our latest Mali GPU". That's bundling, and that's illegal.
Microsoft have away a free browser with their operating system - leaving little room for other browser vendors to serve that market.
Each ARM design deal including a GPU for cheap leaves little room for other GPU vendors.
There are three possibilities here: ARM's design is approximately the same as the competitory, ARM's design is inferior to the competitor, and ARM's design is superior to the competitor.
If faced with two equivalent products, staying with the same supplier for both is best (especially in this case where the IP isn't supply-limited). The discount means a reduction in costs to make the device. Instead of ARM making a larger profit, their customers keep more of their money. In turn, the super-competitive smartphone market means those savings will directly go to customers.
In cases where ARM's design is superior, why would they bundle? If they did, getting a superior product at an even lower price once again just means less money going to the big corporation and more money that stays in the consumer's pocket.
The final case is where ARM has an inferior design. I want to sell the most performance/features for the price so I can sell more phones. I have 2 choices: slight discount on the CPU but bundled with an inferior GPU or full price for the CPU and full price for a superior GPU. The first option lowers phone price. The second option offers better features and performance. For the high-end market, I'm definitely not going with the discount because peak performance reigns supreme. In the lesser markets, its a calculation of price for total performance and the risk that consumers might prefer an extra few FPS for the cost of another few dollars.
Finally, there are a couple small players like Vivante or Imagination Technologies, but the remaining competitors in the space (Intel, AMD, Nvidia, Qualcomm, Samsung, etc) aren't going to be driven under by bundle deals, so bundling seems to be pretty much all upside for consumers who stand to save money as a result.
It is actually the other way around. ARM is more like giving the Mali GPU for free ( or at a very low cost ) if you use their CPU.
>Also this caused obvious problems for IMGtec
Yes, part of the reason why PowerVR couldn't get more traction and Apple were unhappy with their GPU pricing.
What would be an issue would be if Arm used their market power in CPUs to try to control the GPU market - e.g. you can't have the latest CPU unless you buy a Mali GPU with it.
Like AMD? Sure. None of the ARM IP compete with Nvidia much. Not to mention by "Not" Selling to AMD it create more problem for its $40B asset than anyone could imagine.
>Will Nvidia reserve ARM's best IP as a selling point for its own chips? Will Nvidia allow Mali to continue existing?
Sure. Mali dont compete with Nvidia at all. Unless Nvidia will put up their CUDA Core for IP licensing with similar price and terms to Mali. Could they kill it or raise the price of Mali? Sure. But there is always PowerVR. Not to mention AMD is also licensing out Radeon IP to Mobile. Mostly because AMD dont / cant compete in that segment.
>Unless Nvidia leaves ARM alone (and why would they spend $40B on that??)
It has more to do with Softbank being an Investor. They were already heavily invested in Nvidia. And they need money, they want out. And seriously no one sane would buy ARM for $40B ( It is actually $35B, with $5B as performance bonus, the number $40 was likely used only for headline. ) As a matter of fact I would not be surprised if Softbank promise to buy it back someday. This also paint a picture of how desperate Son / Softbank needs those Cash. So something is very wrong. ( Cough WeWork Cough )
But I do understand your point. Conflict of Interest. Similar to Apple wouldn't want to build their Chip in Samsung Foundry.
While I would have liked ARM to remain independent. I am not as pessimistic as some have commented. And normally I am the one who had people pointing at my pessimism.
On the optimistic side of things. There are quite a lot of cost could be shared with the tools used for TSMC and Samsung Foundry implementation. ( Nvidia is now in bed with Samsung Foundry ) For ARM that means higher margin, for its customers that mean access to Samsung Foundry Capacity where previously they are stuck with TSMC. Nvidia also gets to leverage ARM's expertise in licensing, so their Nvidia GPU could theoretically enter new market. The real IP with Nvidia isn't so much about the GPU design, but its Drivers and CUDA. So may be Nvidia could work towards being an Apple like "Software" company that works with specific Hardware. ( Pure Speculation only )
There are lots of talk about Nvidia and ARM. While I dont think the marriage make perfect sense, It is not all bad. There are more interesting point no one is talking about. Marvell, AMD, Xillix and may be Broadcom. The industry is consolidating rapidly because designing leading edge chip, even with the cheap IP licensing is now becoming very expensive. And the four mentioned above have less leverage than their competitors.
I can not put into words how furious I am at the UK's Conservative party for not protecting our last great tech company.
Europe has been fooled into the USA's ultra free market system (which works brilliantly for the US but is terrible for everybody else). As such American tech companies have brought EVERYTHING and eventually moth balled them.
Take Renderware it was the leading game engine of the PS2 era consoles, brought by EA and mothballed. Nokia is another great example brought by Microsoft and mothballed.
Imagination Technologies was slightly different in that it wasn't bought but Apple essentially mothballed them. Now ARM will undoubtedly be the next via an intermediate buyout.
You look across Europe and there is nothing. Deepmind could have been a great European tech company - it just needed the right investment.
I get that Hackernews is dominated by people working in software and software news, but as a part of the real economy (and not the stock market) it's actually not that large and Europe doesn't frame trade policy around it, for good reasons.
The US also doesn't support free-trade for economic reasons, but for political and historical reasons, which is to maintain a rule based alliance across the globe, traditionally to fend off the Soviets. Because they aren't around any more, the US is starting to ditch it. The US has never economically benefited from free-trade, it's one of the most insular nations on the planet. EU-Asia trade with a volume of 1.5 trillion almost doubles EU-American trade, tendency increasing, and that's why Europe is free-trade dependent.
I think you're also getting mixed up between 'free-trade' and 'free-markets'. Free trade is about trade deals: NAFTA, WTO, EU, CPTPP, Mercour or whatever trade grouping you want - generally to do with the removal of taxes and standardisation of goods between countries.
Free markets on the other hand is do with the liberalisation of markets i.e removing government intervention (as much as possible) i.e regulations and restrictions of buying and selling of stuff - in this case companies (which can be covered in a trade deal admittedly)
What I'm advocating is that British gov (and most European gov's) restricts the selling of their tech companies based purely on the importance of the tech company.
Because as I say its do to with control. We're not able to make democratic, sovereign decisions when the fabric of how most things are done is controlled completely by someone else.
Despite efforts to the contrary the EU functions as a glorified free trade zone, half a century of integration cannot beat 1000 years of fragmentation.
Maybe part of the problem is that due to so many regulations, there's not a healthy startup ecosystem and the compensation isn't remotely high enough to draw the best talent.
There is a reason Russia and China have strong tech companies and Europe doesn’t. That reason isn’t lack of money, lack of talent or regulations. The only way for Europe to get big tech companies is by removing or crippling big US companies so EU companies can actually compete. The US companies would be quickly replaced by EU alternatives and those would offer high compensation all the same.
Whether or not that is worth it from the perspective of the EU is not so black and white - tech is obviously not everything - but the current situation where all EU data gets handed to the US government on a silver platter is also far from optimal from the perspective of the EU.
The strange thing is if you do not count brexit, Arm is one of the many example Uk can do it. And whilst we say Nokia, Sieman and japan fuji (sitting in Hosiptal now and thinking those mri, ...) non-chinese and non-Russia do dominate the tech world even they are not USA. But communist ideology totalitarian I found tik tok is really the exception.
Hence I think Eu has their problem. But not because they are not as good as Russia or china.
In case you didn't know about Singles' Day: https://graphics.reuters.com/SINGLES-DAY-ALIBABA/0100B30E24T...
Their phones are pretty good, too (or were pretty good before they got cut off from their suppliers). Their edge was that they built really great cameras into their phones.
Ultimately free trade is where the world would like to get to purely from an economic basis but you have to do that in tandem with the rest of the world. If you go first everybody else has a economic advantage over you as possibly the UK will find out after Brexit actually happens. Also politics gets in the way of the world achieving full free trade. Some gov will always want votes by protecting an industry - like the UK's fishing industry for instance.
Skype is another example to add to the list.
Skype is effectively dead technology and isn’t even promoted any more.
Reaganomics talking point since the 80s, yet the U.S. constantly relaxes regulations, recently it released even more environmental ones and it looks in parts like Mars.
But of course, cut regulations, cut corporate taxes, cut benefits, cut, cut, cut. There's never a failure model for such capitalism apparently. 2008 even was blamed on regulation, rather than lack of thereof.
Am quite frankly done with this line of argument.
I say this because I think Europe with a set of consistent regulations and ways of establishing business would serve as a good counterweight to the freewheeling, "anything goes" nature of US capitalism. But I think the fragmentation is its Achilles Heel.
* We are no longer in the ps2 era. EA now uses Frostbite, which was developed by the Swedish studio Dice. It is alive and well, powering some 40-50 games. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frostbite_(game_engine)
* Nokia was dead well before MS bought them.
I dont see how Renderware would compete with Unreal. Even their owner EA choose Unreal. They were great in PS2 era, but next Gen console ( PS3 ) they were not.
Nokia was dead even before Stephen Elop became the CEO. So the Microsoft acquisition has nothing to do with it.
IMG - Yes. But I would argue they were dead either way. They couldn't get more GPU licensing due to ARM's Mali being cheap and good enough. They couldn't expand into other IP licensing areas. Their MIPS acquisition was 5 years too late. Their wireless part couldn't compete with CEVA. And they somehow didn't sell themselves to Apple as an Exit. ( But then Apple lied about not using IMG's IP. While Steve Jobs often put a spin thing, I find Time Cook's Apple quite often just flat out lying )
If Renderware hadn't been brought by EA (and hence controlled by your competitor), the rest of the industry would probably have kept using Renderware as it was the best option and development would have continued. It would have been built on to deliver next gen experiences.
It mirrors pretty much perfectly what is wrong with the ARM Nvidia deal.
Nokia yes wasn't doing well in the smart phone sector but was doing excellently in the feature phone sector. Hence why HMD Global is now doing very well selling those handsets.
Perhaps governments around the world should do what the US did (and still does) to foreign companies before its too late.
A global strategic bottleneck in China for these things doesn't require patent or environmental law violations, it just requires us to pay more for them. For a critically strategic resource like this, the US should ensure a consistent supply chain independent of geopolitical concerns with China. And if China were to cut off supply then concern for their patents goes out the window too.
Although I dont agree with selling to Softbank at least they didn't have a dog in the game. What is bad about Nvidia is that they have a dog in the (chip) game. A major reason you went to ARM was for a non biased design team - you knew you were getting their best if you paid for it. Now I'm afraid you don't.
Also my comment is not anti US, it just so happens that the US has all the big tech companies and foolishly the European countries, especially the UK believes it can compete in a level playing field with the US even though the US's GDP is about 9 times bigger than the UK's - god knows how much bigger its equities markets are.
At the EU level the US is not but then this kind of stuff isn't decided about at the EU level - maybe it should be, not that that will help the UK see the error in its ways after Christmas.
As for emotional reaction with the greatest of respect did you read your message before you posted it?
A monoculture is bad. Any monoculture.
"To pave the way for the deal, SoftBank reversed an earlier decision to strip out an internet-of-things business from Arm and transfer it to a new company under its control. That would have stripped Arm of what was meant to be the high-growth engine that would power it into a 5G-connected future. One person said that SoftBank made the decision because it would have put it in conflict with commitments made to the U.K. over Arm, which were agreed at the time of the 2016 deal to appease the government." (from https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2020/09/nvidia-reportedly-to... )
"The transaction does not include Arm’s IoT Services Group." (nvidia news.)
which appear to contradict each other.
I'm not sure about the significance of this. I would have guessed Nvidia would have wanted the IoT group to remain.
Also, to first order, when a company issues stock to purchase another corporation, that cost is essentially "free" since the value of the corporation increases.
In other words, Nvidia is essentially paying $12 billion in cash for ARM up front, and that's all. (The extra $5B in cash or stock depends on financial performance of ARM, and thus is a second-order effect.)
The $12B comes from Nvidia the company, the remaining money comes from Nvidia's shareholders directly.
 Only if the valuation of ARM is "worth it" the fresh issue of shares will not cost the current shareholders anything. This is rarely the case , if Nvida overvalued(or less likely undervalued) the deal then current shareholders are giving more than they got for it.
It's just different forms of shareholder assets being traded for other assets, by the shareholders (or rather, their majority vote).
In the current example if the cash is coming from a debt instrument is it not bank funding it now?
it is typically about who is fronting the money now, it could be your bank making loans, or from cash reserves you have, fresh stock issue, selling another asset, or even the target's bank as in the case of LBO.
The shareholders always end up paying for it eventually in some form or other. Differentiating it by the current source helps understand the deal structure and risks better.
When doing a deal, it comes down to price and source of funds. Changing either can drastically change how good or bad the deal is.
Cash paid in this instance is treated no different than cash in their normal operating expenses. If either generates profits in line with their current expected returns, the stock price stays the same, and everyone is indifferent to the transaction.
Same goes for stock issuance. If the expectation of the use of proceeds from the issuance are in line with the company's current expected returns, everyone is indifferent.
Your statement is still true, and the stock market jumped today on the news, so I feel my connotation is misplaced.
This is a pretty naive depiction of Wall Street.
> One person close to the talks said that Nvidia would make commitments to the UK government over Arm’s future in Britain, where opposition politicians have recently insisted that any potential deal must safeguard British jobs.
So the deal has already been influenced by one regulator. That should encourage other regulators.
> SoftBank will remain committed to Arm’s long-term success through its ownership stake in NVIDIA, expected to be under 10 percent.
Why is this stake necessary?
In the case of Arm, the guarantees provided back in 2016 were legally binding, which is why we’re here, four years and another acquisition later, with Nvidia now eager to demonstrate it is standing by those commitments.
Maybe in this particular instance they did learn something?
But how can we evaluate the whether that will continue?
What if ARM is not sold, and then (for whatever reason) stagnates, doesn't innovate, gets overtaken in some way, and enters gradual decline?
Perhaps that's unlikely, but prevent the sale, period is feels too absolute.
Prior to that it was a publicly traded company, presumably with a diverse array of international shareholders.
There are more ARM chips sold each year than those of all its competitors together. Yet ARM's revenue is 300 million $.
Why? Because ARM lives from the ISA royalties, and their revenue on the cores they license is actually small.
With RISC-V on the rise, and west sanctions against china, RISC-V competition against ARM will only increase, and it is very hard to compete against something that's good / better and has lower costs (RISC-V royalties are "free").
I really have no idea why NVIDIA would adquire ARM. If they want a world-class CPU team for the data-center, ARM isn't that (Graviton, Apple Silicon, Fujitsu, etc. are built and designed by better teams). ARM cores are used by Qualcom and Samsung, but these aren't world-class and get beaten every gen by Apple Silicon. If they want ARM royalties, that's high risk business, and very low reward (there is little money to make there).
The only ok-ish cores ARM makes are embedded low-power cores (not mobile, but truly IoT < 1W embedded). Hard to imagine that an architecture like Volta or Ampere that perform well at 200-400W would perform well at the <1W envelope. No mobile phone in the world uses nvidia accelerators, and mobile phones are "supercomputers" when compared with the kind of devices ARM is "ok-ish" at.
So none of this makes sense to me, except if NVIDIA would want to "license" GPUs with ARM cores to IoT and low power devices like ARM does, but that sounds extremely far-fetched, because nvidia is super-far away from a product there, and also because the margins for those products are very very thin, and nvidia tends to like 40-60% margins. You just can have those when buying IoT chips for 0.12$. Its also hard to sell a GPU to these use cases because they often don't need it.
Graviton uses Neoverse CPU cores, which are designed by ARM. To say that ARM is not a world-class CPU team is unfair. Especially as Ampere just announced an 80 core datacenter SoC using Neoverse cores.
Revenue is not $300, we don't know what ARM's revenue is because it hasn't been published since 2016. And back then it was like $1.5 billion. $300 million was net income. Again, in 2016.
I think you've already been adequately corrected on your misconceptions about ARM's CPU design teams.
The latest Fujitsus HPC offering the A64FX is also ARM based though. And it sounds as though this is replacing their SPARC64 in this role .
More like 30-40. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_equity_in_the_1980s
Edit: it’s not necessary/a requirement.
They’re noting that after the transaction, SoftBank will still fall under the 10% ownership threshold that requires more reporting from the SEC :
> Section 16 of the Exchange Act applies to an SEC reporting company's directors and officers, as well as shareholders who own more than 10% of a class of the company's equity securities registered under the Exchange Act. The rules under Section 16 require these “insiders” to report most of their transactions involving the company's equity securities to the SEC within two business days on Forms 3, 4 or 5.
> Under the terms of the transaction, which has been approved by the boards of directors of NVIDIA, SBG and Arm, NVIDIA will pay to SoftBank a total of $21.5 billion in NVIDIA common stock and $12 billion in cash, which includes $2 billion payable at signing. The number of NVIDIA shares to be issued at closing is 44.3 million, determined using the average closing price of NVIDIA common stock for the last 30 trading days. Additionally, SoftBank may receive up to $5 billion in cash or common stock under an earn-out construct, subject to satisfaction of specific financial performance targets by Arm.
Since NVIDIA currently has 617 million shares outstanding, if the earn-out were to be fully in common stock, this would bring Softbank to 8.8% of NVIDIA from this transaction alone (plus anything they already have in NVIDIA as public-market investors).
(I believe that the Forbes analysis in the sibling comment is mistaken in describing this as a "10% stake in new entity" - no new entity is mentioned in the press release itself.)
The Forbes article is based on a joint interview today with the CEOs of Arm and Nvidia, who could have provided more detail than the press release, specifically:
> Arm operating structure: Arm will operate as an NVIDIA division
This level of detail can be confirmed during the analyst call on Monday. Operating as a separate division would help assuage concerns about Arm's independence. The press release says:
> Arm will remain headquartered in Cambridge ... Arm’s intellectual property will remain registered in the U.K.
Those statements are both consistent with Arm operating as a UK-domiciled business that is owned by Nvidia.
> Softbank ownership: Will keep 10% stake in new entity
That would mean Nvidia acquired 90% of Arm for $40B, i.e. Arm was valued at $44B.
Is Softbank invested in Arm licensees, who may benefit from Softbank influence? Alternately, which Arm licensees would bid in a future auction of Softbank's 10% stake of Nvidia's Arm division?
> The transaction does not include Arm’s IoT Services Group, which is made up of Treasure Data and Arm’s IoT Platform business.
> Back in July, Arm announced a proposed transfer to separate Treasure Data from its core semiconductor IP licensing business, enabling Treasure Data to operate as an independent business. That separation is on track and will be completed before the close of the NVIDIA transaction. Most importantly, you should not see any disruption in our service or support as a result of this news.
This isn't correct. If investors thing Nvidia overpaid, its share price will decline. There are many examples of acquiring companies losing significant value on announcements to buy other companies even in pure stock deals.
One would be making the argument, "the cost is essentially free because although we spent $40B, we acquired a company worth $40B". Obviously, that's not any more correct than the case of paying in stock.
If they gave away cash, that's a different story, it all depends.. if they were sitting on $1tn cash, and the spent $40bn, that's no biggie. I mean we went through COVID, what worse can come next?
Well, you’re now getting 50% of the dividend produced by the new combined entity. If the deal was correctly priced, your share of the Arm dividend should exactly replace the portion of your Nvidia dividend that you lost through dilution.
Nvidia is essentially telling us that they think their shares are currently richly valued. I agree with that.
They could also think their shares are valued accurately but believe the benefits of synthesis would increase the value.
Their only other option would be taking on debt.
That's telling us something about what they think about their share valuation right now.
All it tells you is that they think it's preferable to taking on debt, which in some sense is the position you always start from. Debt has a deadweight cost that you have to overcome.
But we can test your theory. You're saying they thought their shares were overvalued. The market's reaction was the opposite - announcing the deal bumped their share price 7.5%.
You realize that logic no longer matters in this economy. There's an oversupply of printed money and stonks literally only going up.
Really, it shows that the market valued Parse much more than the cash it cost Facebook. If Parse was bought with stock instead of cash, that's almost cooler. Since it allowed Parse to capture more of the surplus value they created. (Since the stock price popped).
The perpetual architecture license folks that make their own cores like Apple, Samsung, Qualcomm, and Fujitsu (I think they needed this for the A64FX, right?) will be fine, and may just fork off on the ARMv8.3 spec, adding a few instructions here or there. Apple especially will be fine as they can get code into LLVM for whatever "Apple Silicon" evolves into over time.
The smaller vendors that license core designs (like the A5x and A7x series, etc.) like Allwinner, Rockchip, and Broadcom are probably in a worse state - nVidia could cut them off from any new designs. I'd be scrambling for an alternative if I were any of these companies.
Long term, it really depends on how nVidia acts - they could release low end cores with no license fees to try to fend off RISC-V, but that hasn't been overly successful when tried earlier with the SPARC and Power architectures. Best case scenario, they keep all the perpetual architecture people happy and architecturally coherent, and release some interesting datacenter chips, leaving the low end (and low margin) to 3rd parties.
Hopefully they'll also try to mend fences with the open source community, or at least avoid repeating past offenses.
There is one thing they would need to worry about though, which is that if the rest of the market moves to RISC-V or x64 or whatever else, it's not implausible that someone might at some point make a processor which is superior to the ones those companies make in-house. If it's the same architecture, you just buy them or license the design and put them in your devices. If it's not, you're stuck between suffering an architecture transition that your competitors have already put behind them or sticking with your uncompetitive in-house designs using the old architecture that nobody else wants anymore.
Their best move might be to forget about the architecture license and make the switch to something else with the rest of the market.
This assumes that there isn't some other factor in transitioning architecture - this argument could boil down in the mid 2000's to "Why not go x86/amd64", but you couldn't buy a license to that easily (would need to be 3-way with Intel/AMD to further complicate things)
Apple has done quite well with their ARM license, outperforming the rest of the mobile form factor CPU market by a considerable margin. I don't doubt that they could transition - they've done it successfully 3 times already, even before the current ARM transition.
Apple under Cook has said they want to "to own and control the primary technologies behind the products we make". I doubt they'd turn away from that now to become dependent on an outside technology, especially given how deep their pockets are.
But that has really nothing to do with the architecture. They just spent more money on CPU R&D than their ARM competitors. They could have done the same thing with RISC-V, and if that's where the rest of the industry is going, they could be better off going there too. Especially for Mac, since they're about to do a transition anyway. They could benefit from putting it off for another year while they change the target architecture to something the rest of the market might not be expected to avoid in the future.
There is also no guarantee that their success is permanent. They might have done a better job than Qualcomm this year, but what happens tomorrow, if Google throws their hat into the ring, or AMD makes a strong play for the mobile market, or Intel gets their heads out of their butts, or China decides they want the crown and gives a design team an unlimited budget? There is value in the ability to switch easily in the event that someone else is the king of the mountain for a while.
> I don't doubt that they could transition - they've done it successfully 3 times already, even before the current ARM transition.
Just because they can do it doesn't mean it's free.
Really if Intel was shrewd, they'd recognize that they've lost Apple's business already and just sell them an x86 license, under some terms that Intel would care about and Apple wouldn't, like they can only put the chips in their own devices. Then Apple could save themselves the transition entirely and do another refresh with processors from Intel while they put their CPU team to task redesigning their own chips to be x86_64. It would give both Apple and Intel a chance to throw a punch at Nvidia (which neither of them like) while helping both of them. Apple by avoiding the Mac transition cost and Intel by maintaining the market share of their processor architecture and earning them whatever money they get from Apple for the license.
And it gives Intel a chance to win Apple's business back. All they have to do is design a better CPU than Apple does in-house, and Apple could start shipping them again without having to switch architectures. Which is also of value to Apple because it allows them to do just that if Intel does produce a better CPU than they do at any point in the future.
And you don't want to move to ARM if everybody else is moving away from it.
They could, but that's more than just an easy money grab. Something Nvidia would already be familiar with from Tegra.
What seems more likely/risky would be nvidia starts charging a premium for a Mali replacement, or begins sandbagging Mali on the lower end of things. But Qualcomm already has Adreno to defend against that.
The latest Tegra SoC launched March of 2020.
On mobile SoC margins I guess that margins are low because there is a lot of competition - start cutting off IP to the competition and margins will rise.
I suspect that their focus will be on the server / automotive to start off with but the very fact that they can to any of this is troubling for me.
EDIT: correction, make that the last generation or four (oops, time flies)
It all happened because Apple came out with the first 64-bit design, and QCOMM wasn't ready. Rather than deliver 32-bit for 1 more year, they used an off the shelf ARM 64-bit design (A57) in their SoC called the Snapdragon 810, and boy was it terrible.
No, they may not. People keep suggesting these kinds of things, but part of the license agreement is that you can't modify the ISA. Only ARM can do that.
> There’s been a lot of confusion as to what this means, as until now it hadn’t been widely known that Arm architecture licensees were allowed to extend their ISA with custom instructions. We weren’t able to get any confirmation from either Apple or Arm on the matter, but one thing that is clear is that Apple isn’t publicly exposing these new instructions to developers, and they’re not included in Apple’s public compilers. We do know, however, that Apple internally does have compilers available for it, and libraries such as the Acclerate.framework seem to be able to take advantage of AMX. 
my123's instruction names leads to a very shallow rabbit hole on google, which turns up a similar list 
Agreed upon: ['amxclr', 'amxextrx', 'amxextry', 'amxfma16', 'amxfma32', 'amxfma64', 'amxfms16', 'amxfms32', 'amxfms64', 'amxgenlut', 'amxldx', 'amxldy', 'amxldz', 'amxldzi', 'amxmac16', 'amxmatfp', 'amxmatint', 'amxset', 'amxstx', 'amxsty', 'amxstz', 'amxstzi', 'amxvecfp', 'amxvecint']
my123 also has ['amxextrh', 'amxextrv'].
(famously so, Intel used to ship arm chips with WMMX and Apple for example ships their CPU today with the AMX AI acceleration extension)
(+ there's the can of worms of target-specific MSRs being writable from user-space, Apple does this as part of APRR to flip the JIT region from RW- to R-X and vice-versa without going through a trip to the kernel. That also has the advantage that the state is modifiable per-thread)
Please, stop spreading nonsense. All of this is public knowledge.
The Neural Engine is a completely separate hardware block, and you have good reasons to have such an extension available on the CPU directly, to reduce latency for short-running tasks.
Is it possible AMX is implemented with the implementation-defined system registers and aliases of SYS/SYSL in the encoding space reserved for implementation-defined system instructions? Do you have the encodings for the AMX instructions?
A sample instruction: 20 12 20 00... which doesn't in any stretch parse as a valid arm64 instruction in the Arm specification.
Edit: Some other AMX combinations off-hand:
00 10 20 00
21 12 20 00
20 12 20 00
40 10 20 00
Let me repeat this: part of the ARM architectural license says that you can't modify the ISA. You have to implement a whole subset (the manual says what's mandatory and what's optional), and only that. This is, as I've been saying, public knowledge. This is how it works. And there are very good reasons for this, like avoiding fragmentation and losing control of their own ISA.
And once again, stop spreading misinformation.
Specifically about the Apple case,
After your tone, not certainly obligated to answer but will write one quickly...
Apple A13 adds AMX, a set of (mostly) AI acceleration instructions that are also useful for matrix math in general. The AMX configuration happens at the level of the AMX_CONFIG_EL1/EL12/EL2/EL21 registers, with AMX_STATE_T_EL1 and AMX_CONTEXT_EL1 being also present.
The list of instructions is at https://pastebin.ubuntu.com/p/xZmmVF7tS8/ (didn't bother to document it publicly at least at this point).
Hopefully that clears things up a bit,
And please don't ever do this again, thank you. (this also doesn't comply with the guidelines)
-- a member of the checkra1n team
Broadcom has an architectural license. They do also license core designs.
Really if nVidia locks up the lower end cores, then a lot of stuff breaks. Billions of super tiny ARM cores are everywhere. ARM has few competitors in the instruction set space for low end, low power, low cost cores. AVR, PIC, and MIPS are what come to mind. And AVR/PIC are owned by Microchip corporation.
These ARM chip unit licenses are dirt cheap, there's hundreds of small manufacturers, and their chips go in everything, and in unexpected places. And these aren't just little microprocessors anymore. They're even in SoCs as little coprocessors that manage separate hardware components in realtime.
The amount of penetration ARM has in hidden places cannot be underestimated. And there isn't a quick replacement for them. Not one freely licensed to any manufacturer.
Offer customers iOS apps and games on the next MacBook as a straight swap for Boot Camp and Parallels. Once they’ve moved everyone over to their own chips and brought back Rosetta and U/Bs they’re essentially free to replace whatever they like at the architecture level.
In their reveal I noticed that they only mentioned ARM binaries running in virtual environments. It makes sense if you don’t want to commit to supporting GNU tools natively on your devices (as it would mean sticking with an established ISA)
Apple is large enough that if they want to break from ARM in the future they can do so by forking an LLVM backend. That's not a large job if it's a very small change, but once it's been done once they have plenty of resources to provide ongoing support (like they do for webkit).
The dividends of doing so are potentially massive. Given that they've been able to make really large gains with the A series chips to date on mobile (not least because they've been able to offload tasks to dedicated co-processors that general-purpose ARM cores don't ship with), the rewards for having chips that are a generation ahead of other like-for-like computers will outweigh the cost of maintaining the software.
I guess they have some ISA flexibility (which is remarkable). But not much; each transition was still a very special set of circumstances and a huge hurdle, I'm sure.
As in, most of the work occurs in the low-level parts of the Operating system. After that the OS should abstract the differences away from User-space.
First of all: there's lots of software that's not the OS. The OS is the easy bit: everything else: grindy, grindy horrorstory. A lot of that code will be third-party. And if you think, "hey, we'll just recompile!", and you can actually get them to too - well, good luck, but performance will be abysmal in many cases. Lots and lots of libraries have hand-tuned code for specific architectures. Anything with vectorization - despite compilers being much better than they used to be - may see huge bog downs without hand tuning. That's not just speculation; you can look at software that's gets the vectorization treatment or was ported to arm from x86 poorly - perfomance falls off a cliff.
Then there's the JITs and interpreters, of which there are quite a few, and they're often hyper-tuned to the ISA's they run on. Also, they can't afford to run something like LLVM on every bit of output; that's way too slow. So even non-vectorized code suffers (you can look at some of the .net core ARM developments to get a feel for this, but the same goes for JS/Java etc). Webbrowsers are hyper-tuned. regexengines, packet filters, etc etc etc
Not to mention: just getting a compiler like LLVM to support a new ISA as optimally as x86 or ARM isn't a small feat.
Finally: at least at this point, until our AI overloads render that redundant - all this work takes expertise, but that expertise takes training, which isn't that easy on an ISA without hardware. That's why Apple's current transition is so easy: they already have the hardware; and the trained experts some with over a decade of experience on that ISA!. But if they really want to go their own route... well, that's tricky, because what are all those engineers going to play around on to learn how it works; what's fast, and what's bad?
All in all, it's no coincidence transitions like this take a long time, and that's for simple (aka well-prepared) transitions like the one's Apple's doing now. Saying they have ISA "flexibility", like they're somehow interchangeable is completely missing the point on how tricky on those details are, and how much they're going to matter on how achievable such a transition is. Apple doesn't have general ISA flexibility, it has a costly route from specifically x86 to specifically ARM, and nothing else.
The vast majority of the code written for any given computer or smartphone doesn't have this level of sophistication and optimization though. I'd wager that for most code just changing the build target will indeed mostly just work.
It won't be painless but modern code tends to be so high level and abstracted (especially on smartphones) than the underlying ISA matters a lot less than in the past.
This isn't a question of precise instruction timing, it's a question of compilers being pretty bad at leveraging SIMD in general, even in 2020. Also, while I'm sure lots of projects have hand-tuned assembly, even higher level stuff like intrinsics help a lot, and need manual porting.
Also - why would Apple massively up and change uArchs? Even if they did decide to turn Apple Silicon into not-ARM, I'd wager it would look a lot more like ARM than for example, x86 does.
Also likely the small tweaks they will want from time to time should be "easy" to follow internally, if you can orchestrate everything from top to bottom and back.
Not to mention starting a JV has nothing to do with perpetual IP access. You will still have to pay for it.
I obviously don't know that for sure but the idea that Apple would stake their future on something they don't have a legal ironclad position seems unlikely.
Just because Apple and nVidia has bad relationship at the moment regarding their GPUs is probably orthogonal to what they'll do with this new branch of nVidia, that is ARM.
Yea, they got fucked by Nvidia business practices multiple times. There's a saying about shame on you, shame on me, etc.
Unless the entire Nvidia business unit also gets replaced in the same transaction, it doesn't matter how much of a faux separation of concerns they want to market.
True about frenemies the entire time that Apple was suing Samsung, it was using Samsung to manufacture many of its components.
Since they're not branding it as ARM in any way, shape, or form, and they have a perpetual architectural license to the ISA, I suspect they could do pretty much what they please - as long as they don't call it ARM. Which they don't.
Even if not, then yes, I would imagine that a behemoth of IP design like Apple would probably have considered IP rights during that design...
Why would they do that anyway? The downsides are obvious (immediate loss of revenue), the risks are huge (antitrust litigation, big boost to RiscV or even Mips), the possible benefits are nebulous.
Those who are most obviously at risk are designers of mobile GPUs (Broadcom, PowerVR ...).