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Thread: Nvidia Arm purchase to be a $32bn+ cash and stock deal

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    Nvidia Arm purchase to be a $32bn+ cash and stock deal

    Negotiations with SoftBank in advanced stages, should conclude in a "few weeks".
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    Re: Nvidia Arm purchase to be a $32bn+ cash and stock deal

    Fail,and that means even for the UK to use or design ARM based products we would need Congressional approval.

    So will if Nvidia owns it will they allow far and easy access to other parties,or do what they did with other partners,and try and push prices up and not play nice?? There is a reason why Sony,Microsoft and Apple don't want to work with them anymore.


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    Re: Nvidia Arm purchase to be a $32bn+ cash and stock deal

    our government is a joke allowing these purchases. Once it's gone it's gone. They never should have let it get sold in the first place.

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    Re: Nvidia Arm purchase to be a $32bn+ cash and stock deal

    Quote Originally Posted by CAT-THE-FIFTH View Post
    Fail,and that means even for the UK to use or design ARM based products we would need Congressional approval.
    So currently ARM is a UK company with a Japanese parent company, and the technology is deemed UK.
    The whole point of having these trees of parent, holding etc companies is to wall things off, so having a US parent company could happily work the same way.

    It would only change if Nvidia absorb ARM rather than let ARM run as a UK independent subsidiary, and I'm not convinced absorbing makes any sense.

    If I was working on the ARM GPU I might be getting my CV up to date though. I can see pushing SoC IP with ARM CPU license and Nvidia GPU/AI licences becoming a thing.

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    Re: Nvidia Arm purchase to be a $32bn+ cash and stock deal

    Pretty bad news.
    Can't see Nvidia playing nicely once they are established.

    Plus what will be their attitude to Adreno, PowerVR, Mali, and so on long term?

    All those vendors who went for ARM for the versatility it gave them will now have to seriously consider RISC-V?

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    Re: Nvidia Arm purchase to be a $32bn+ cash and stock deal

    Quote Originally Posted by DanceswithUnix View Post
    So currently ARM is a UK company with a Japanese parent company, and the technology is deemed UK.
    The whole point of having these trees of parent, holding etc companies is to wall things off, so having a US parent company could happily work the same way.

    It would only change if Nvidia absorb ARM rather than let ARM run as a UK independent subsidiary, and I'm not convinced absorbing makes any sense.

    If I was working on the ARM GPU I might be getting my CV up to date though. I can see pushing SoC IP with ARM CPU license and Nvidia GPU/AI licences becoming a thing.
    This is Nvidia we are talking about,and in the end the fact is the UK can say what they want,but once Nvidia is bought by a US firm,US laws will be applicable in some way. Japan is very neutral in how it deals with countries. In fact I am surprised the Japanese government is actually allowing this,as they have strengthened protections of their semi-conductor IP and companies significantly.

    I think even 1% foreign ownership of critical firms requires permission from the Japanese government:
    https://www.iflr.com/article/b1lmx4p...investment-law

    The A64FX is ARM based for example.

    Nvidia owning this,when they make their own ARM CPUs,is a conflict of interest.

    Longterm this could be the end of ARM,as countries are developing ARM based products for technological independence. If Nvidia tries its usually stuff,or there is a chance of licenses,being revoked for whatever reason,it's not going to play well. Have you noticed that MIPS never got serious traction,even though it was UK owned for a while?? This will only mean RISC-V will start to get more serious interest. Why do you think the future EU wide processor initiative is RISC-V based??
    Last edited by CAT-THE-FIFTH; 31-07-2020 at 05:10 PM.


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    Re: Nvidia Arm purchase to be a $32bn+ cash and stock deal

    I don't get why people think Nvidia, assuming they got past regulators in the first place, would want to destroy ARM's business model? Doing so (again, assuming regulators around the world waved it through) they'd be effectively buying a 30-odd billion dollar company just to destroy its value overnight and gain next to nothing back for that monumental investment. And for what? ARM as an entity is far more valuable with its current open-access licensing model.

    Sure, they'd gain a very capable team of engineers, but they don't need to spend over $30B to achieve that. I know people are thinking 'so they can design their own processors and lock out competition' - again, making a heck of an assumption that regulators would just let that fly, why would they want to destroy the market for the ARM architecture and push everyone to an alternative if they're trying to capitalise on the install base? It just doesn't add up whichever way you look at it.

    Looking at it another way, I'm far from an expert when it comes to such matters but Nvidia would have to go into enormous debt and/or use their own stock to purchase ARM in the first place given they don't have nearly enough cash to do so, and in doing so they'd be lowering their overall margins, and I really can't see the benefit of them buying ARM either way. They wouldn't really *gain* anything they can't already do technologically, and both the regulators and business sense would most likely prevent them from doing the monumentally stupid thing of trying to lock out competitors.

    About the only reasons I can think of why Nvidia would be interested, is to maintain ARM as an independent company, much like Softbank have done, in order to protect their independence, but at the end of the day Nvida aren't a charity and it's a huge investment given not many other companies would be able to buy them anyway, sinister intent or otherwise. I expect many of the more sinister-intent companies would be blocked outright by regulators. Another reason could be to do much like SoftBank have done and keep hold until they can sell again or float at a higher price.

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    Re: Nvidia Arm purchase to be a $32bn+ cash and stock deal

    Quote Originally Posted by watercooled View Post
    I don't get why people think Nvidia, assuming they got past regulators in the first place, would want to destroy ARM's business model? Doing so (again, assuming regulators around the world waved it through) they'd be effectively buying a 30-odd billion dollar company just to destroy its value overnight and gain next to nothing back for that monumental investment. And for what? ARM as an entity is far more valuable with its current open-access licensing model.

    Sure, they'd gain a very capable team of engineers, but they don't need to spend over $30B to achieve that. I know people are thinking 'so they can design their own processors and lock out competition' - again, making a heck of an assumption that regulators would just let that fly, why would they want to destroy the market for the ARM architecture and push everyone to an alternative if they're trying to capitalise on the install base? It just doesn't add up whichever way you look at it.

    Looking at it another way, I'm far from an expert when it comes to such matters but Nvidia would have to go into enormous debt and/or use their own stock to purchase ARM in the first place given they don't have nearly enough cash to do so, and in doing so they'd be lowering their overall margins, and I really can't see the benefit of them buying ARM either way. They wouldn't really *gain* anything they can't already do technologically, and both the regulators and business sense would most likely prevent them from doing the monumentally stupid thing of trying to lock out competitors.

    About the only reasons I can think of why Nvidia would be interested, is to maintain ARM as an independent company, much like Softbank have done, in order to protect their independence, but at the end of the day Nvida aren't a charity and it's a huge investment given not many other companies would be able to buy them anyway, sinister intent or otherwise. I expect many of the more sinister-intent companies would be blocked outright by regulators. Another reason could be to do much like SoftBank have done and keep hold until they can sell again or float at a higher price.
    Nvidia's history of working with other companies is very,very poor. They dicked around Sony and MS so much with consoles,they refused to ever build a console with their tech in it again. Then Nvidia screwed over companies with the bumps problem,and Apple avoided them. They fell out with Intel too.

    Then the problem is they actually make ARM based CPUs,so what about all the other companies who compete with them,with similar ARM based products? How is that going to be policed??

    The other issue,is how independent any foreign subsidiary of a US owned company is. Doing a bit of research,they are actually open to US law,so it means they can't really be fully independent.

    Many countries didn't go with MIPS,even though it was British owned for quite a while,due to it US roots,and need to get permissions for various things...unless you make a clone! They went ARM,as the basic IP is UK developed(some of the cores do have US content,but were subject to US regulatory approval),and they rarely tended to get our companies involved in spats. The US under Trump increasingly does.

    So US owned ARM,gives an ARM license,to Country A,but 5 years later Country A has a spat,and it leads to sanctions. Then any product using ARM can't be exported,etc. It's happened before.

    The issue is countries develop ARM based products partially due to national security and export considerations,etc.

    Even the new EU processor initiative is RISC-V,the same as India which tells me,there were worries about technological independence even elsewhere:
    https://riscv.org/2019/08/how-the-eu...upercomputing/

    Longterm it's only going to enable RISC-V.
    Last edited by CAT-THE-FIFTH; 31-07-2020 at 06:09 PM.


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    Re: Nvidia Arm purchase to be a $32bn+ cash and stock deal

    ARM has a different business model to Nvidia's typical one, and ARM wouldn't really work under the latter given they literally make money from licensing to other people. And it's successful because companies actually want to use it. Killing off the business model would lead to no-one wanting to use it anyway, making the investment worthless. Again though, regulators.

    Them making ARM CPUs is obviously a competitive concern, and something the regulators will undoubtedly take into account.

    I doubt companies not going with MIPS was solely down to them being US-based IP TBH. ARM was already very well-established in the mobile space before MIPS really started trying to enter that market. In fact MIPS were very successful in the embedded market prior to the IPTech acquisition, and if anything ARM seems to have gained market share in spite of that.

    I'm sure the sanction nonsense would also be a major consideration in any purchase - it would obviously be a concern if said sanctions would immediately devalue the company under US ownership.

    There's a big hype train around RISC-V but at the end of the day it's an ISA, not a set of IP cores a company can just implement into products. Someone still needs to actually design cores around it which is hardly an insignificant undertaking if they hope to compete with competitive designs currently on the market. And then they either need to produce and sell them independently in their own finished designs i.e. the likes of Qualcomm/Samsung/etc, or license those cores back to other companies, and you arrive back at square 1. RISC-V isn't the magical solution to core licensing some people seem to think it is.

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    Re: Nvidia Arm purchase to be a $32bn+ cash and stock deal

    Quote Originally Posted by watercooled View Post
    ARM has a different business model to Nvidia's typical one, and ARM wouldn't really work under the latter given they literally make money from licensing to other people. And it's successful because companies actually want to use it. Killing off the business model would lead to no-one wanting to use it anyway, making the investment worthless. Again though, regulators.

    Them making ARM CPUs is obviously a competitive concern, and something the regulators will undoubtedly take into account.

    I doubt companies not going with MIPS was solely down to them being US-based IP TBH. ARM was already very well-established in the mobile space before MIPS really started trying to enter that market. In fact MIPS were very successful in the embedded market prior to the IPTech acquisition, and if anything ARM seems to have gained market share in spite of that.

    I'm sure the sanction nonsense would also be a major consideration in any purchase - it would obviously be a concern if said sanctions would immediately devalue the company under US ownership.

    There's a big hype train around RISC-V but at the end of the day it's an ISA, not a set of IP cores a company can just implement into products. Someone still needs to actually design cores around it which is hardly an insignificant undertaking if they hope to compete with competitive designs currently on the market. And then they either need to produce and sell them independently in their own finished designs i.e. the likes of Qualcomm/Samsung/etc, or license those cores back to other companies, and you arrive back at square 1. RISC-V isn't the magical solution to core licensing some people seem to think it is.
    Has all the other acquisitions any of these companies made been fully independent and on purpose ignoring Nvidia's past history is not really a good idea. So if Intel bought ARM,you would have no concerns then??

    I think you really underestimate how much export restrictions are a concern for many countries,and many people in the UK wouldn't understand that.I would say MIPS being US IP,is the primary reasons ARM took off,as it was established in foreign markets before ARM was.

    It's become such a major concern in certain areas,the French have made a very successful business in make avionics,etc which can substitute US items on a one to one basis. Multiple countries worldwide are doing this,and this is not like buying something for your consumer products. If you follow these things,more countries are trying to develope independent technologies and Trump throwing hissy fits its not really helping here.

    Even countries such as India,did this for some major purchases. You don't seem to appreciate how fickle the US can be,when randomly just using sanctions on all sort of things. Its even lead to European products needing to be reformatted,to remove stuff which has US content,or even European stuff which can be sanctionable.

    It is not nonsense - because especially for national security and export of said items,it's a major concern. Both the EU and India,national processor intiatives are based around RISC V for a reason,just as Linux is also used in more places than you think. Do you think it is a fluke,they decided to start development around an open source ISA,which no country has to give permission to use?? I think you don't appreciate why indigenisation efforts are happening.

    Having Nvidia buy this also is concerning as,it means most of the important processor IP is now under the control of one part of the world,and a company which has a history of playing poor. Hope does not come into - unless you think the tricks Nvidia pulled for decades suddenly make them a nicer company.

    I also wish the regulators stop this TBF,but I have no trust they will.


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    Re: Nvidia Arm purchase to be a $32bn+ cash and stock deal

    Quote Originally Posted by CAT-THE-FIFTH View Post
    Then the problem is they actually make ARM based CPUs,
    For all Nvidia's bullish posturing, they basically make the CPU that goes into the Nintendo Switch and these days that is about it. In the past they have been in all sorts of stuff, but it never seems to work out. Phones? I had one of those, my hands were never cold at least. No-one makes them any more. Tablets? I still have an Nvidia tablet and it is just about keeping up, but it went from a few companies making Tegra based tablets so only Nvidia making them to nothing. My wife has an old HP ChromeBook which it turned out had a Tegra in it. They don't make those any more. Even Tesla went to making custom AI processors instead of buying off the shelf Nvidia kit.

    Nvidia are in a rut, albeit so far a very profitable one. They have tried to diversify into the SoC market, but it just hasn't worked.


    Quote Originally Posted by CAT-THE-FIFTH View Post
    Many countries didn't go with MIPS,even though it was British owned for quite a while,due to it US roots,
    Oh come on, companies didn't go with MIPS because it was already a dead architecture limping to its doom. China went with it, because it was possible to get a MIPS licence where the DEC Alpha clones had no chance of ever being legal so they changed instruction set.


    The EU processor is RISC-V because it makes the whole instruction set licence problem moot, the instruction set is modern, and it is the only instruction set that is designed from the outset for heavy customisation in exactly the way a supercomputer CPU would want to operate. Really, RISC-V deserved to get the win on merit. RISC-V is also rather trendy, which would look nice on the researcher's CVs at the end of the project, always a plus.

    OFC these days China is getting undergrads to design, tape out and bring up RISC-V designs. Not an attempt to produce some research, but churning out industry hardened expertise. The EU effort seems rather lame in comparison, and the writing is on the wall for at least the low end ARM designs out there.
    https://cntechpost.com/2020/07/25/ri...ully-tape-out/

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    Re: Nvidia Arm purchase to be a $32bn+ cash and stock deal

    Honestly I'd urge you to go back and re-read what I've actually said and not immediately infer polar opposites to your own views, because I've not actually said pretty much anything you're countering above.

    I'm not saying I have no concerns at all, and the same concerns would apply regardless of whom they were sold to, but in particular any companies where competitive concerns are obvious. Many of the entities who are both interested in and able to afford ARM would attract similar concerns.

    I don't think I suggested anything about underestimating export restrictions? In fact I've spoken about concerns around them in the past. But I stand by what I said about ARM vs MIPS. Like I said if export restrictions were a real concern, MIPS wouldn't be as ubiquitous in the embedded as it is/was. Nor various other ISAs in everything from consumer electronics to military applications e.g. Motorola processors in the Typhoon. Correlation vs causation.

    Countries moving to protect against dummy-spitting where it affects national security makes a lot of sense. This doesn't really change anything.

    Again, where have I made any claim about whether the US is fickle or not? As above, this sanction nonsense has caused all sorts of problems and will have made many companies/countries sit up and re-evaluate their supply chains and reliance on other countries, in particular the US.

    I never said RISC-V was nonsense, re-read what I said about it. ISA != competitive cores.

    I don't think Nvidia are a nicer company either, but nor do I think they're idiotic when it comes to business. And largely for that reason, I struggle to understand why ARM would be a good fit for Nvidia's business model.

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    Re: Nvidia Arm purchase to be a $32bn+ cash and stock deal

    Quote Originally Posted by DanceswithUnix View Post
    For all Nvidia's bullish posturing, they basically make the CPU that goes into the Nintendo Switch and these days that is about it. In the past they have been in all sorts of stuff, but it never seems to work out. Phones? I had one of those, my hands were never cold at least. No-one makes them any more. Tablets? I still have an Nvidia tablet and it is just about keeping up, but it went from a few companies making Tegra based tablets so only Nvidia making them to nothing. My wife has an old HP ChromeBook which it turned out had a Tegra in it. They don't make those any more. Even Tesla went to making custom AI processors instead of buying off the shelf Nvidia kit.

    Nvidia are in a rut, albeit so far a very profitable one. They have tried to diversify into the SoC market, but it just hasn't worked.
    Has anything about Nvidia in the last 20 years said they work well with anyone? No evidence shows this,so in the end they will try their best to twist things to their advantage,but it won't work longterm.

    I can see them trying their best to jack up the licensing prices,etc. They always tried this and why MS and Sony,just never gave them another shot at consoles.

    People seem to ignore the fact Nvidia always tries to jump into places with little competition,but eventually get driven out as their own practices backfire on them.

    For example,if they had bothered to play nicer with MS or Sony,they might have had another console win. But they didn't and AMD survived because of this,which means they are competing with them still.

    People are suddenly expecting Nvidia to play nice,and act all charitable and fair,etc. A Leopard does not change its spots so easily.

    Moreover,ARM made £175 million in operating income in 2017.

    Do you think Nvidia is going to spend over $30 billion to just get a under $300 million a year extra in income??






    Quote Originally Posted by DanceswithUnix View Post
    Oh come on, companies didn't go with MIPS because it was already a dead architecture limping to its doom. China went with it, because it was possible to get a MIPS licence where the DEC Alpha clones had no chance of ever being legal so they changed instruction set.
    China literally cloned MIPS.....! They licensed ARM.

    Noticed how MIPS had to be sold to a US company when Imagination Technologies was bought by the Chinese. The UK government rarely steps in like this - the only time I have heard it happen was for Argentina.

    Quote Originally Posted by DanceswithUnix View Post
    The EU processor is RISC-V because it makes the whole instruction set licence problem moot, the instruction set is modern, and it is the only instruction set that is designed from the outset for heavy customisation in exactly the way a supercomputer CPU would want to operate. Really, RISC-V deserved to get the win on merit. RISC-V is also rather trendy, which would look nice on the researcher's CVs at the end of the project, always a plus.

    OFC these days China is getting undergrads to design, tape out and bring up RISC-V designs. Not an attempt to produce some research, but churning out industry hardened expertise. The EU effort seems rather lame in comparison, and the writing is on the wall for at least the low end ARM designs out there.
    https://cntechpost.com/2020/07/25/ri...ully-tape-out/
    RISC V will win,because any country can use,it design what they want,and they don't need to getting special permission to build CPUs around it.

    There will be a need for initial heavy lifting but after,that I think give another 5~10 years,ARM will probably be displaced.

    Remember,lots of ARM based products don't required backwards compatability at all,so realistically replacing ARM based products isn't as such a big deal,as replacing X86 in Windows PCs. It is also why X86 isn't a big deal outside a windows environment.
    Last edited by CAT-THE-FIFTH; 31-07-2020 at 09:50 PM. Reason: Re-repeating stuff.


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    Re: Nvidia Arm purchase to be a $32bn+ cash and stock deal

    Quote Originally Posted by DanceswithUnix View Post
    For all Nvidia's bullish posturing, they basically make the CPU that goes into the Nintendo Switch and these days that is about it.
    They also put out 'feelers' (comments to social media advocates / fanbase) about how they reason they didn't get any other console deals is because it's all to low margin and they wouldn't have been interested*. The fact that neither Sony nor Microsoft had intention of ever working with Nvidia was a mere coincidence....

    Don't forget, that Nvidia also managed to get into Apple's bad books with the whole solder defect thing where they didn't come clean, kept making unbelievable claims that the latest batch of chips they supplied no longer had the problem while some Apple customer's ended up having their motherboards swapped out multiple times in an attempt by Apple (kudos to their customer service at the time) to fix a problem intrinsic to millions of Nvidia chips at the time.


    Quote Originally Posted by DanceswithUnix View Post
    Nvidia are in a rut, albeit so far a very profitable one. They have tried to diversify into the SoC market, but it just hasn't worked.
    There was post on the AT forums thread on this (link), where someone pointed out that since Nvidia already have an ARM architectural licence, what do they want?

    You don't spend $32 billion unless there's a return. So what do they want?

    Force the other ARM GPU vendors out and eventually make money licencing GeForce to the entire mobile phone industry?

    Neither Qualcomm nor Apple would be happy with that. And what will happen to ARM's Norwegian design centre which makes Mali?

    Could Android jump to another CPU? A lot of it is still managed code AFAIK, but that's the same thing as the Linux model of full source code packages so only mostly portable.

    EDIT:
    * low margins is of course also why Intel wasn't interested in building Apple a mobile SOC (which might have been ARM anyhow), they never took Atom seriously, and are now in a panic about loosing the fab race to TSMC (and even Samsung). Turns out low margin, but high volume can be very profitable after all.

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    Re: Nvidia Arm purchase to be a $32bn+ cash and stock deal

    Quote Originally Posted by kompukare View Post
    There was post on the AT forums thread on this (link), where someone pointed out that since Nvidia already have an ARM architectural licence, what do they want?

    You don't spend $32 billion unless there's a return. So what do they want?

    Force the other ARM GPU vendors out and eventually make money licencing GeForce to the entire mobile phone industry?

    Neither Qualcomm nor Apple would be happy with that. And what will happen to ARM's Norwegian design centre which makes Mali?

    Could Android jump to another CPU? A lot of it is still managed code AFAIK, but that's the same thing as the Linux model of full source code packages so only mostly portable.

    EDIT:
    * low margins is of course also why Intel wasn't interested in building Apple a mobile SOC (which might have been ARM anyhow), they never took Atom seriously, and are now in a panic about loosing the fab race to TSMC (and even Samsung). Turns out low margin, but high volume can be very profitable after all.
    Samsung also just recently licensed RDNA for its SOCs. The Samsung S21 is their first SOC to use it.

    Also wait until they jack up their licensing costs too.

    ARM barely makes $300 million a year in licensing costs.


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    Re: Nvidia Arm purchase to be a $32bn+ cash and stock deal

    Quote Originally Posted by kompukare View Post
    They also put out 'feelers' (comments to social media advocates / fanbase) about how they reason they didn't get any other console deals is because it's all to low margin and they wouldn't have been interested*. The fact that neither Sony nor Microsoft had intention of ever working with Nvidia was a mere coincidence....
    The margin thing is one reason why I'm really unsure why they'd be interested. Nvidia like their high margins.

    Quote Originally Posted by kompukare View Post
    since Nvidia already have an ARM architectural licence, what do they want?

    Snip
    Pretty much the point I'm making TBH - they don't need to purchase ARM to make ARM CPUs. Anything else would attract major regulatory scrutiny.

    Quote Originally Posted by kompukare View Post
    Could Android jump to another CPU?
    Probably, but someone needs to make one first. Ask Intel, Samsung, Qualcomm, LG, Google, Nvidia themselves and many more how their own cores designs are doing in the mobile space. Changing ISA doesn't magic those problems away.

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