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posted by martyb on Monday September 14 2020, @05:50AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the Arm-ageddon? dept.

We had two submissions about this just-announced story.

Nvidia to buy Arm Holdings From SoftBank for $40 Billion

Nvidia to buy Arm Holdings from SoftBank for $40 billion

Chipmaker Nvidia has agreed to buy Arm Holdings, a designer of chips for mobile phones, from SoftBank in a deal worth $40 billion, the companies announced Sunday. The deal will include $21.5 billion in Nvidia stock and $12 billion in cash, including $2 billion payable at signing.

Softbank acquired Arm in 2016 for $31.4 billion in 2016 in one of its largest acquisitions ever. Arm is best known as the designer of an architecture used in chips in most mobile phones, including the Qualcomm chips used in most Android phones, as well as Apple's iPhone. Apple is also planning to shift its Mac computers from Intel chips to an Arm-based design.

Nvidia, whose chips are widely used to support graphics and artificial intelligence applications, including for self-driving vehicles, pledged that it would "continue Arm's open-licensing model and customer neutrality."

Interest in RISC-V set to skyrocket again.

Also at Bloomberg, The Verge, Tom's Hardware, and Wccftech.

Previously: Nvidia's Market Cap Rises Above Intel's
Nvidia Considering Acquisition of ARM for Over $32 Billion

Nvidia Buys ARM Holdings From SoftBank for $40 Billion

Nvidia buys ARM Holdings from SoftBank for $40 billion:

SoftBank has agreed to sell Arm Holdings to US chip company Nvidia for $40bn, ending four years of ownership as the Japanese technology group shifts towards becoming a global investment and asset management powerhouse.

The UK chip designer is the latest large asset disposal orchestrated by SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son as his newly built war chest opens up options for the group including an expansion of trading into publicly listed technology stocks and a potential delisting of its own shares.

Under the deal, SoftBank will become the largest shareholder in Nvidia, which will pay the Japanese group $21.5bn in common stock and $12bn in cash. "We look forward to supporting the continued success of the combined business," Mr Son said in a joint statement late on Sunday.

[...] While Nvidia is paying more for the asset than SoftBank did, the price also reflects the scale of Arm's underperformance under the Japanese group's ownership.

Nvidia had a market valuation of roughly similar to that of Arm's at the time of the 2016 deal, but now trades with a market value of $300 billion, or roughly 10 times the amount SoftBank paid in cash for Arm. By paying for a large portion of the deals with its own shares, it is also passing part of the risk of the transaction to SoftBank.

[...] For Nvidia, which recently overtook Intel to become the world's most valuable chipmaker, the deal will further consolidate the US company's position at the centre of the semiconductor industry. The British chip designer's technology is starting to find broader applications beyond mobile devices, in data centres and personal computers including Apple's Macs.

Arm would transform Nvidia's product line-up, which until now has largely focused on the high end of the chips market. Its powerful graphics processors—which are designed to handle focused, data-intensive tasks—are typically sold to PC gamers, scientific researchers and developers of artificial intelligence and self-driving cars, as well as cryptocurrency miners.

Official announcement at Nvidia.

Also at: BBC, cnet, NYT.


Original Submission #1 Original Submission #2

Related Stories

Nvidia's Market Cap Rises Above Intel's 3 comments

Nvidia overtakes Intel as most valuable U.S. chipmaker

Nvidia has for the first time overtaken Intel as the most valuable U.S. chipmaker.

In a semiconductor industry milestone, Nvidia's shares rose 2.3% in afternoon trading on Wednesday to a record $404, putting the graphic component maker's market capitalization at $248 billion, just above the $246 billion value of Intel, once the world's leading chipmaker.

[...] Despite Nvidia's meteoric stock rise, its sales remain a fraction of Intel's. Analysts on average see Nvidia's revenue rising 34% in its current fiscal year to $14.6 billion, while they expect Intel's 2020 revenue to increase 2.5% to $73.8 billion, according to Refinitiv.

Reflecting investors' optimism about Nvidia's future profit growth, its shares are currently trading at 45 times expected earnings, while Intel's trade at 12 times expected earnings.

TSMC and Samsung are more valuable than Nvidia.

In other news, Elon Musk is worth more than Warren Buffet.

Also at EE Times.

See also: Where did it all go wrong for Intel?


Original Submission

Nvidia Considering Acquisition of ARM for Over $32 Billion 38 comments

Nvidia is reportedly in 'advanced talks' to buy ARM for more than $32 billion

SoftBank has been rumored to be exploring a sale of ARM — the British chip designer that powers nearly every major mobile processor from companies like Qualcomm, Apple, Samsung, and Huawei — and now, it might have found a buyer. Nvidia is reportedly in "advanced talks" to buy ARM in a deal worth over $32 billion, according to Bloomberg.

Nvidia is said to be the only company that's involved in concrete discussions with SoftBank for the purchase at this time, and a deal could arrive "in the next few weeks," although nothing is finalized yet. If the deal does go through, it would be one of the largest deals ever in the computer chip business and would likely draw intense regulatory scrutiny.

Also at Guru3D and Wccftech.

Previously:
(2020-07-12) Apple Has Built its Own Mac Graphics Processors
(2020-07-11) Nvidia's Market Cap Rises Above Intel's
(2020-06-11) ARM Faces a Boardroom Revolt as it Seeks to Remove the CEO of Its Chinese Joint Venture
(2019-10-29) Fed Up Of Playing Whac-A-Mole With Network Of Softbank-Owned Patent Holders, Intel Goes To Court


Original Submission

Nvidia-Branded ARM CPUs; UK Trade Union Speaks Out Against Deal 9 comments

Jensen Huang Says Nvidia-Branded ARM CPUs Are a Possibility

According to comments from Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang during a conference call yesterday, we could see Nvidia-branded CPUs in the future, setting the stage for a new level of competition with Intel and AMD.

[...] However, during yesterday's briefing, Timothy Prickett Morgan from TheNextPlatform asked Jensen Huang, "Will you actually take an implementation of something like Neoverse first and make an Nvidia-branded CPU to drive it into the data center? Will you actually make the reference chip for those who just want it and actually help them run it?"

"Well, the first of all you've made an amazing observation, which is all three options are possible," Huang responded, "[...] So now with our backing and Arm's serious backing, the world can stand on that foundation and realize that they can build server CPUs. Now, some people would like to license the cores and build a CPU themselves. Some people may decide to license the cores and ask us to build those CPUs or modify ours."

"It is not possible for one company to build every single version of them," Huang continued, "but we will have the entire network of partners around Arm that can take the architectures we come up with and depending on what's best for them, whether licensing the core, having a semi-custom chip made, or having a chip that we made, any of those any of those options are available. Any of those options are available, we're open for business and we would like the ecosystem to be as rich as possible, with as many options as possible."

Arm Officially Supports Panfrost Open-Source Mali GPU Driver Development 7 comments

Arm Officially Supports Panfrost Open-Source Mali GPU Driver Development

Most GPU drivers found in Arm processors are known to be closed-source making it difficult and time-consuming to fix some of the bugs since everybody needs to rely on the silicon vendor to fix those for them, and they may even decide a particular bug is not important to them, so you'd be out of luck.

So the developer community has long tried to reverse-engineer GPU drivers with projects like Freedreno (Qualcomm Adreno), Etnaviv (Vivante), as well as Lima and Panfrost for Arm Mali GPUs. Several years ago, Arm management was not interested at all collaborating with open-source GPU driver development for Mali GPUs, but as noted by Phoronix, Alyssa Rosenzweig, a graphics software engineer employed by Collabora, explained Panfrost development was now done in partnership with Arm during a talk at the annual X.Org Developers' Conference (XDC 2020).

[...] So that means a stable Panfrost driver should be expected quite earlier, and possibly with higher quality, than if the company still had to spend time and resources on reverse-engineering.

Related: Pagamigo: FOSS Python Script for PayPal Payments (Alyssa Rosenzweig)
Nvidia Announces $40 Billion Acquisition of Arm Holdings
Nvidia-Branded ARM CPUs; UK Trade Union Speaks Out Against Deal


Original Submission

Nvidia's $40 Billion ARM Acquisition: "All but Dead"? 18 comments

Nvidia's US$40 billion deal to buy Arm is all but dead – it's a classic example of geopolitics killing innovation

Under normal circumstances, US tech giant Nvidia's takeover of British chip designer Arm for US$40 billion (£29 billion) would have sailed through without registering beyond the computing industry. Instead, it has made international headlines, with UK and EU monopolies regulators launching an in-depth investigation after outcry from competitors.

In effect, the deal is pretty much dead before it starts. At the heart of this lies a row about technological sovereignty. So what is going on?

[...] The biggest pushback, behind the scenes, actually appears to be from China. Ever since the US blacklisted Huawei and other semiconductor manufacturers in China, Beijing has been obsessed with becoming technically "self-sufficient".

While it works towards this goal, Arm has continued to license its chip architectures to Huawei. Arm claims that its chip technology is of British origin and therefore does not breach the US restrictions on exporting tech to a group of blacklisted Chinese companies. Thanks to this ongoing arrangement, Arm is one of the remaining enablers for China's semiconductor sector to keep pace with the outside world.

See also: ANALYSIS-Nvidia acquisition of Arm throws company into tech spat between U.S. and China

Previously: Nvidia Announces $40 Billion Acquisition of Arm Holdings
Nvidia-Branded ARM CPUs; UK Trade Union Speaks Out Against Deal


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by driverless on Monday September 14 2020, @06:11AM (11 children)

    by driverless (4770) on Monday September 14 2020, @06:11AM (#1050645)

    Interest in RISC-V set to skyrocket again.

    That should read:

    Interest in RISC-V set to blip briefly for a few days.

    ARM isn't the competition, ARM is the environment. I have about twenty ARM-powered devices in my house right now. If I want more, I can buy them in any form, any capability, at any price, from any vendor. If I'm really in a hurry the nearest place that'll sell me assorted ARM-based development boards is five minutes' drive away.

    For RISC-V, I can try and mail order a few underpowered Arduino-level toy systems from obscure vendors or pay a stupid amount of money for a bare-bones board capable of running Linux. That's it.

    I'd really like to do more with RISC-V, but you've got to be realistic about it, if after ten years of effort you need to search just to find a toy device using one, it's not going to take the world by storm.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 14 2020, @10:45AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 14 2020, @10:45AM (#1050683)

      ARM is cheap and competitive now. Whether it will be in ~5 years depends on how NVidia handles the acquisition and future licencingw deals. If they start making life difficult for those who want to licence an ARM core and use it with a non-NVidia GPU things will change quite rapidly.

    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 14 2020, @11:40AM (4 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 14 2020, @11:40AM (#1050689)

      Best outcome of this if it would force AMD to make a move to buy SiFive and get RISC-V moving faster. All it takes is to mass-produce a CPU and sell it as a single chip. All these integrated boards serve no one. What we need to move forward is to be able to buy a single RISC-V processor (bulk is fine too).

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 14 2020, @11:49AM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 14 2020, @11:49AM (#1050692)

        That depends entirely on the target market. If your customers are building embedded systems or looking for microcontrollers then good integration is a major selling point.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 14 2020, @05:56PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 14 2020, @05:56PM (#1050879)

          My observation is that the food chain is diverse. Generally most efficient with a symbiosis of chip manufacturers and end-user board manufacturers. I could be wrong, but the existing eco-system is based on that setup.

      • (Score: 4, Interesting) by takyon on Monday September 14 2020, @01:53PM (1 child)

        by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Monday September 14 2020, @01:53PM (#1050749) Journal

        AMD had plans to create K12 ARM chips [wikipedia.org], mostly for servers, but they sidelined it in favor of going full speed ahead on x86 Zen and Epyc. That's a move that has proven to be hugely successful.

        Nvidia in Advanced Talks to Buy ARM, Upend Silicon Industry [extremetech.com]

        According to AMD contacts I spoke to when the company decided to pivot towards Ryzen, the K12 design wasn’t scrapped — AMD just decided that the ecosystem wasn’t mature enough to justify bringing the product to market. The scuttlebutt around K12 always suggested it was similar to Ryzen, with a number of shared design elements between the cores. While ARM and x86 are two different CPU architectures, it would be much easier to cross-leverage IP between ARM and x86 then between, say, x86 and Itanium. There’s no evidence that AMD finished the design or continued to evolve it in the background, but they wouldn’t have thrown the chip away, either. If ARM starts chewing into x86’s market share, I expect AMD might dust off K12, update it for the modern era, and bring it to market.

        AMD has to be more careful (than say, Intel) about the products it launches. Unless RISC-V starts to eat into ARM in the server/HPC segment to a dramatic extent, I think it's more likely that AMD will revive K12. And if you could buy a motherboard and K12 ARM CPU, that might be desirable (but probably expensive, like building an Epyc-based PC).

        Those integrated boards serve plenty of people. But they don't address the need for high core counts and clock speeds. Given that Apple is going to start putting out 12+ core ARM CPUs (advancing from the typical 2+6, 4+4 seen in mobile or SBCs), and ARM has announced its power-hungry Cortex-X1 [wikipedia.org] design, the pieces may be in place. Some company should make an 8x Cortex-X1, 8x Cortex-A78, 16x Cortex-A55 for desktops.

        Rumor | Roadmap enlists AMD processor codenames expected till 2022; No hint of AMD Ryzen desktop CPUs indicated for 2021, but will ARM K12 be revived? [notebookcheck.net]

        --
        [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 14 2020, @05:54PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 14 2020, @05:54PM (#1050876)

          What I mean is, people are currently desoldering the CPU from SiFive boards to create new boards, if that was not neccesary I'd image we'd be moving a lot further a lot faster, yet everyone seems to be focused on making their own integrated solution. I think ARM has been served great by off the shelf components, I wish we had that with RISC-V.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by sjames on Monday September 14 2020, @01:09PM

      by sjames (2882) on Monday September 14 2020, @01:09PM (#1050718) Journal

      Currently, yes. I like ARM as well. I'm working on several ARM based devices now. As long as Nvidia allows ARM to be ARM, that will likely remain true. If, OTOH, Nvidia tries to use tying and bundling or decides to cut open the goose that lays the golden eggs, ARM will stagnate and spawn a bunch of proprietary not-quite-ARM "enhancements".

      A lot of the benefit of ARM (and part of why it is inexpensive) is that I can use the same tool chain and libraries on products from multiple competing vendors' ARM products. If that stops being true, RISC-V starts looking more attractive.

    • (Score: 2) by RamiK on Monday September 14 2020, @01:30PM

      by RamiK (1813) on Monday September 14 2020, @01:30PM (#1050731)

      ARM isn't the competition, ARM is the environment.

      Companies that are in AI, GPUs, datacenter and automobile ASIC can't work with an nVidia-owned ARM. Even at the basic level of ordering SoCs and asking questions about the docs will reveal too much about their up and coming designs and products.

      --
      compiling...
    • (Score: 2) by RamiK on Tuesday September 15 2020, @05:21PM (2 children)

      by RamiK (1813) on Tuesday September 15 2020, @05:21PM (#1051387)

      For RISC-V, I can try and mail order a few underpowered Arduino-level toy systems from obscure vendors or pay a stupid amount of money for a bare-bones board capable of running Linux. That's it.

      On the following day: https://www.cnx-software.com/2020/09/15/sifive-to-debut-risc-v-pc-for-developers-based-on-freedom-u740-next-gen-soc/ [cnx-software.com]

      --
      compiling...
      • (Score: 2) by driverless on Wednesday September 16 2020, @09:32AM (1 child)

        by driverless (4770) on Wednesday September 16 2020, @09:32AM (#1051634)

        https://www.cnx-software.com/2020/09/15/sifive-to-debut-risc-v-pc-for-developers-based-on-freedom-u740-next-gen-soc/

        The HiFive Unleashed a bare-bones board with the slightly older U540, costs a thousand dollars a pop for something that as an ARM device would cost around one tenth of that. Can you imagine what a full PC is going to cost?

        • (Score: 2) by takyon on Wednesday September 16 2020, @01:25PM

          by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Wednesday September 16 2020, @01:25PM (#1051687) Journal

          Who knows what they even mean by PC? All they need to provide is a standard motherboard with a soldered CPU. Let people find their own case, PSU, DRAM, etc.

          If it really is the equivalent of a quad-core Cortex-A55, it would need almost no power. It could just be put in an SFF case. Larger and technically not an SBC since it would have 2-4 DIMMs.

          Set your expectations very low, but keep an eye on CNX in October.

          --
          [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by linkdude64 on Monday September 14 2020, @07:41AM (5 children)

    by linkdude64 (5482) Subscriber Badge on Monday September 14 2020, @07:41AM (#1050661)

    I don't like consolidation like this.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 14 2020, @11:51AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 14 2020, @11:51AM (#1050694)

      I don't either. It is never in the interests of the customer in the long term because the suppliers invariably start tying products.

    • (Score: 2) by Azuma Hazuki on Monday September 14 2020, @01:20PM (3 children)

      by Azuma Hazuki (5086) on Monday September 14 2020, @01:20PM (#1050723) Journal

      Hey, that's un-/ill-regulated capitalism for you. If you don't want the genie, don't rub the lamp.

      --
      I am "that girl" your mother warned you about...
      • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 14 2020, @03:08PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 14 2020, @03:08PM (#1050784)

        What has capitalism ever done for us?
        Cue Monty Python.

      • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Monday September 14 2020, @04:21PM (1 child)

        by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Monday September 14 2020, @04:21PM (#1050823) Journal

        We don't have capitalism any more.

        We have capitalism run amok.

        --
        I need to spend more effort optimizing performance within while(false) loops.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 14 2020, @06:11PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 14 2020, @06:11PM (#1050897)

          no, this is idiocy running amok.
          "you" take an idea that was cited by a malfunctioning political movement, and decry it just because it was cited by a malfunctioning political movement.

          at the same time, "you" have the work of millions of artists and engineers and plain workers, and let that be owned by a few...

          thus, companies own "us" and the environment, and "we" cant touch ideas that were used by some, who failed for whatever reason...

          . . .

          now u ask
          "so what do you suggest?"

          -zug (also known as Vlad)
          and before i can utter a word, u say:
          and by the way, i dont take suggestions by trolls, foreigners, nazis, communists, or just people i dont like.

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by hendrikboom on Monday September 14 2020, @06:29PM (1 child)

    by hendrikboom (1125) Subscriber Badge on Monday September 14 2020, @06:29PM (#1050911) Homepage Journal

    Yes, RISC-V seems to be there now, but there seem to be roadblocks to developing a innovative libre/free RISC-V chip lurking in their nondisclosure requirements.

    Which is why the Libre-SoC [libre-soc.org] project switched to the OpenPower architecture. Their interim hardware design is scheduled for its first tape-out sometime in October.

    No, not available now, as ARM is, but likely to be popular with those wanting to be in control of their hardware.

    And you can already look at their source code.

    -- hendrik

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 14 2020, @07:31PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 14 2020, @07:31PM (#1050944)

      great news. i resisted buying any arm devices b/c it was not open, etc until recently. I regret it. They are a PITA. looking forward to Power for everything possible. Sick and tired of insecure, hostile and poorly supported hardware I wouldn't buy anything owned by Nvidia if i can help it. Haven't in years. Don't plan to start now.

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