Qualcomm is favoring the creation of a consortium to control ARM
ARM’s predicament still remains to be decided after the so-called Nvidia “takeover” fell through earlier this year. SoftBank, the current owner of ARM, is planning an IPO for the British company some time in 2023. Many analysts believe that this is the only way to ensure ARM’s neutrality, but some big tech companies may beg to differ. A few months ago, SK Hynix was envisioning a consortium of companies controlling ARM, and it looks like this course of action is being embraced by an increasing number of important players in the industry. According to a recent Financial Times report, Qualcomm's CEO also expressed his belief that a consortium of rival companies could better ensure ARM’s neutrality.
Due to ARM’s highly customizable mobile processor designs, many industry giants such as Apple, Google, Samsung and Qualcomm depend to some extent on licensing this technology. Qualcomm’s CEO Cristiano Amon recognizes that ARM is “a very important asset and it’s an asset which is going to be essential to the development of our industry.” An IPO might not be a good idea given the war in Ukraine and the current state of international affairs, so Amon is favoring the creation of a consortium of rival companies that can enforce ARM’s neutral stance. However, Amon also specified that he has not yet approached SoftBank with any proposition supporting the creation of such a consortium.
The Financial Times report further points out that even Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger expressed interest in joining a consortium that would control ARM. What other companies could join this consortium? Most likely those that currently benefit the most like Apple and let us not forget Nvidia, which was already planning to release some server-grade products that make extensive use of ARM’s IPs. In the end, Nvidia could get its share of ARM, but it would not threaten to monopolize the licensing business anymore since the other consortium members should balance things out with their equally outstanding shares.