Nvidia Acquisition of SoftBank’s Arm Brings Rewards, Risks

Nvidia agreed to pay $40 billion — $21.5 billion in stock, $12 billion in cash — for SoftBank’s Arm division, a chip designer based in the United Kingdom. Nvidia will pay $2 billion on signing, and SoftBank will also receive $5 billion in cash or stock should Arm’s performance meet specific standards. Arm employees will receive $1.5 billion in Nvidia stock. This will be the biggest semiconductor industry deal since SoftBank paid $31.4+ billion to purchase Arm in 2016. The deal will also increase competition between Nvidia and Intel. Continue reading Nvidia Acquisition of SoftBank’s Arm Brings Rewards, Risks

Nvidia Purchase of Arm Signals Inflection Point in Computing

If Nvidia acquires Arm Ltd. in the next few weeks, which many experts predict will happen, the company may be in the position to dominate the next computing ecosystem. Jefferies semiconductor analyst Mark Lipacis notes that, the computer industry goes through a “strategic inflection point” every 15 years, with research showing that dominant players in each era account for 80 percent of the profits. Different ecosystems are the result of “multi-pronged” strategy by those companies that come out on top. Continue reading Nvidia Purchase of Arm Signals Inflection Point in Computing

Qualcomm Faces Bright 5G Future After Appeals Court Ruling

Qualcomm reached the end of a trying five-year period, battered by antitrust allegations, U.S.-China trade tensions, an activist shareholder and Broadcom’s hostile takeover attempt among other obstacles. This week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit vacated a 2019 ruling by a federal judge that Qualcomm had overcharged phone makers for its patents and abused its monopoly position. Qualcomm chief executive Steve Mollenkopf is now predicting sales of between 175 million and 225 million 5G devices this year. Continue reading Qualcomm Faces Bright 5G Future After Appeals Court Ruling

SoftBank Is Considering the Sale of ARM Holdings to Nvidia

SoftBank, which spent $32 billion to buy ARM Holdings in 2016, is now actively considering ARM’s sale to Nvidia, according to SoftBank founder and chief executive Masayoshi Son. The company has also invested in Slack, WeWork, and Uber, which have experienced high-profile problems. The U.K.-based ARM Holdings, originally founded by Acorn, Apple and VLSI, designs low-power RISC chips that have become ubiquitous for mobile phones. Last month, SoftBank reportedly hired Goldman Sachs to explore options for a sale or going public.

Continue reading SoftBank Is Considering the Sale of ARM Holdings to Nvidia

Qualcomm Seeks Permission to Sell Chips to China’s Huawei

Semiconductor manufacturer Qualcomm is presenting its case to the Trump administration for an exemption to the ban on selling components to Huawei Technologies, noting that the injunction has the impact of enriching its foreign competitors. The White House ban is part of the administration’s ongoing technology battle with China, which has intensified in recent months. Huawei would use Qualcomm chips for its 5G phones, but the San Diego-based company would need a license from the Commerce Department to be able to ship them. Continue reading Qualcomm Seeks Permission to Sell Chips to China’s Huawei

Intel Further Delays 7-Nano Chips and Considers Outsourcing

Although Intel posted stronger earnings in Q2, largely due to the remote working environment created by COVID-19, the company revealed a now 12-month delay in producing 7-nanometer chips that are the foundation of future CPUs. With the news, Intel’s shares dropped in after-hours trading. The company faces competition from rival AMD and is expected to lose about 3 percent in revenue when Apple switches to its own chips. Intel chief executive Bob Swan broached the idea of continuing to design chips but outsourcing their production. Continue reading Intel Further Delays 7-Nano Chips and Considers Outsourcing

U.K. Bans the Use of Huawei Equipment for 5G Infrastructure

Reversing a January decision, the U.K. has decided to ban Huawei Technologies gear from its 5G network, giving telecom operators until 2027 to remove existing equipment. Oliver Dowden, the U.K. Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said the turnabout was due to U.S. sanctions on Huawei in May. “Given the uncertainty this creates around Huawei’s supply chain, the U.K. can no longer be confident it will be able to guarantee the security of future Huawei 5G equipment,” said Dowden. The Trump administration has been urging allies to join the ban. Continue reading U.K. Bans the Use of Huawei Equipment for 5G Infrastructure

Nokia Redirects Its 5G Business With System-on-Chip Tech

Nokia Corp. stumbled in its 5G business when it invested in an expensive computer chip; customers instead gravitated to Ericsson’s and Huawei Technologies’ less expensive processors. In 2018, the company began a two-year restructuring program, bringing in Tommi Uitto as the new head of its wireless equipment unit. He doubled the R&D staff and added two more chip suppliers, in an attempt to make more affordable chips. Now, a new president and chief executive, Pekka Lundmark, is about to take over the helm at Nokia from Rajeev Suri. Continue reading Nokia Redirects Its 5G Business With System-on-Chip Tech

WWDC: Apple Unveils New Silicon Chips, macOS, iOS, More

At WWDC this week, Apple officially announced its plan to move from Intel chips to ARM-based “Apple Silicon” chips. With its own chips, Apple will no longer have to rely on Intel’s update cycles. It also means that Apple will be able to bring its customized neural engines to Macs for tasks that use machine learning. Apple stated that developers will be able to create apps that run on ARM-based Macs in Xcode’s new version, which will also continue to support Intel x86 Macs. Additionally, the company announced iOS 14 (with home screen widgets), iPadOS 14 (with Scribble handwriting-to-text conversion), macOS and Safari upgrades, spatial audio for AirPods Pro, Apple TV updates, and more.  Continue reading WWDC: Apple Unveils New Silicon Chips, macOS, iOS, More

Apple Plans to Unveil Its New Chips at Developer Conference

As early as June 22, at its annual developer conference WWDC, Apple may reveal its plan to replace Intel chipsets with its own internally developed ones, code-named Kalamata. Sources indicate that announcing Kalamata this time of year will give third-party developers time to shift gears before the new Macs debut in 2021. Apple’s new chips will be based on the same technology as those in iPhones and iPads, although Macs will continue to run the macOS operating system rather than iOS software of the mobile devices. Continue reading Apple Plans to Unveil Its New Chips at Developer Conference

Huawei Holds the Most 5G Patents, But Still Needs U.S. Tech

In May, the U.S. Commerce Department banned the sale of any semiconductors made with U.S. software to China’s 5G behemoth Huawei Technologies. Now, that company’s stockpile of chips essential to its telecom business is dwindling, likely to run out by early 2021. According to sources, Huawei executives have yet to come up with a solution and, without one, the U.S. move is on track to disrupt China’s $500 billion 5G rollout. In the long-run, it could also sideline that country’s goal of dominating 5G globally

Continue reading Huawei Holds the Most 5G Patents, But Still Needs U.S. Tech

New Trade Rule Further Restricts Huawei Access to U.S. Tech

The Trump administration intensified its battle with Huawei Technologies by issuing a new rule that bans Huawei and its global suppliers from using U.S.-made machinery and software to design or produce chips. Companies can apply for an exception to the measure, but the Trump administration stated these requests will likely be denied. Semiconductor Industry Association president and CEO John Neuffer said his group is worried that the rules would “create uncertainty and disruption for the global semiconductor supply chain.” Continue reading New Trade Rule Further Restricts Huawei Access to U.S. Tech

Nvidia A100: Powerful New Chipset Created for Advancing AI

Nvidia unveiled its A100 artificial intelligence chip, which houses 54 billion transistors and can execute 5 petaflops of performance, about 20 times more than the company’s previous Volta chip. Chief executive Jensen Huang, who revealed it during his Nvidia GTC keynote address, dubbed it “the ultimate instrument for advancing AI.” The original March 24 introduction was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nvidia also unveiled the DGX A100 system, the third generation of Nvidia’s AI DGX platform, which uses the new chips. The DGX A100 is now shipping. Continue reading Nvidia A100: Powerful New Chipset Created for Advancing AI

Chip Sales Surge as Screen Time Increases During Pandemic

As a result of the global shutdown, personal and business Internet usage is way up. SimilarWeb reported that users spent an additional 5 billion hours of screen time in March — a 13 percent leap over February — on the 100 most popular sites, including Facebook and Google. Likewise, Amazon, Netflix and YouTube are thriving. That’s led to a surge in demand for chipsets. Micron Technology chief executive Sanjay Mehrotra said his company is shifting production of its chips away from smartphones and towards data-center products. Continue reading Chip Sales Surge as Screen Time Increases During Pandemic

Apple Planning Mac Computers With Own ‘Kalamata’ Chips

Two years ago, Apple stated plans to sell Mac computers with its own chips, and now announced it will roll them out in 2021. The company is developing three Mac-specific chips using the 5-nanometer process it will debut this year. The chips, which are expected to be faster than those found in the iPhone and iPad, won’t be able to initially surpass Intel’s performance for Apple’s high-end MacBook Pros, iMacs and Mac Pro. For that reason, Apple will likely first debut a laptop. Apple has used Intel chips since 2005. Continue reading Apple Planning Mac Computers With Own ‘Kalamata’ Chips

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