Qualcomm has expressed interest in buying a stake in chipmaker Arm Holdings, should the NVIDIA deal fall through.
Arm Holdings designs semiconductors used in mobile devices, computers and servers. Unlike other chipmakers, which design and manufacture their chips, Arm licenses its designs to other companies, including Apple, Qualcomm, Samsung and others, who are responsible for manufacturing them.
While Arm chips have traditionally dominated the mobile landscape, thanks to their combination of performance, power consumption and battery life, the chips are gaining popularity in desktop devices. Apple is leading the charge, migrating its Mac platform to its custom, Arm-based silicon.
NVIDIA announced it had entered an agreement to purchase Arm last September, but the deal is currently being investigated by the UK government over national security concerns. As technology, and especially the semiconductor industry, continues to be impacted by geopolitical factors, the UK government is worried about its main chipmaker coming under US control. NVIDIA rivals are also concerned the company will end Arm’s long tradition of vendor neutrality in favor of keeping Arm’s greatest innovations for itself.
Qualcomm appears ready to pounce, should the NVIDIA deal fall through, according to The Telegraph, via TheStreet.
“If Arm has an independent future, I think you will find there is a lot of interest from a lot of the companies within the ecosystem, including Qualcomm, to invest in Arm,” Cristiano Amon, Qualcomm’s incoming chief executive, told The Telegraph.
Needless to say, NVIDIA was dismissive of such ideas, portraying Arm as needing NVIDIA’s help to succeed.
“To grow and meet the demands of the AI era, Arm needs much more than an IPO,” Nvidia said in a statement. “Arm needs an infusion new technology that it can provide to Arm licensees everywhere, which is why we stepped up and agreed to buy Arm.”