Chipmaker Nvidia is reportedly very close to buying Advanced RISC Machines (ARM), the company that designs chips for almost every smartphone today. The company had been battling competition like Qualcomm and Samsung for buying the chipmaker for over a year now, but a report from UK’s Evening Standard says it may win that race.
While ARM doesn’t manufacture its own chips, the company owns the intellectual property (IP) for pretty much any mobile chipset you see today. Companies like Qualcomm, MediaTek, Samsung and even Apple, use ARM’s licenses to design their own mobile chips. The company has also designed chips for supercomputers.
On the other hand, Nvidia has made its money mostly from designing chips for laptops, desktops and data centres. The company could gain a foothold into the mobile ecosystem if it gains access to ARM.
In fact, the deal also comes at a time when the mobile gaming ecosystem has been heating up. Industry insights have pegged the global mobile gaming market at over $160 billion, and companies like Apple, Samsung, Qualcomm and more have been pushing the boundaries for what gaming on smartphones can be.
Nvidia, which makes a fortune from chips meant for PC and console gaming, could combine that expertise with ARM’s technology to capitalise on this big market. ARM specialises in designing chips that are more efficient that traditional PC and data centre chips, something that traditional PC chipmakers like Nvidia, Intel and AMD have been interested in too.
ARM, which is owned by Japanese Softbank Group, had been put up for sale last year. According to reports, the company had approached Cupertino, California-based Apple for the deal, but the iPhone maker didn’t go through with it. Softbank had paid about £24 billion for the company back in 2016. The Evening Standard report says it’s looking to sell the chip giant for £40 billion.