Humberto Saabedra is the Editor-in-Chief of and an occasional columnist for He can also be found musing on things at @AnimeNewsdotbiz

6 responses to “Report: Apple Considering ARM Purchase for $8 Billion”

  1. JJ

    This would be a horrible deal. Im all for businesses doing what they need to do to survive but when your infringing on another company to do business and promote competition that is just wrong. This means higher prices for consumers. Apple is just scared that Android is making phones that are competing par on par with its iPhone and instead of making a better iPhone they are trying to screw people over to stop them. Lets hope it doesn’t happen. If it does then android and windows phone 7 will be the only phones I will support.

  2. Christopher Price

    Owning ARM wouldn’t seriously hurt Android. Android can be ported to Atom, and already has by Intel. If Apple were to acquire ARM, it would simply drive Intel to develop ultra-ultra-low-power Atom chips to compete with ARM.

    This is about Apple wanting autonomy on driving its processors. Apple does not want a repeat of the PowerPC and 68k relationships that Apple endured for over 20 years. Owning PA Semi gives Apple part of the solution, but they are still beholden to ARM’s roadmap. Steve Jobs wants to leave Apple with the ability to carve its own path on processors, and directly challenge Intel and AMD on that front.

    While the Apple of today is not suited for creating, licensing, and selling processor chips, I seriously doubt Apple would abandon billions worth of licensing. They’ve licensed technologies like FireWire in the past, and it has been very profitable for Apple to do.

  3. rlowell

    There is another path, Chris.

    ARM grants “architectural licenses” to only a few companies. Qualcomm bought a division of IBM to get this. And the Snapdragon (which has I think 1/10 the sleep current of Atom) is a result.

    With this architectural license, the holder can drive innovation within the ARM architecture on its own, and is not beholden to the ARM roadmap.

    I guess the downside of this is that you really need to be a chip company – which Apple is not.


  4. Christopher Price

    Apple IS a chip company. They own PA Semi, which almost beat out Intel for the contract of MacBook processors back when Apple was mulling over the switch to Intel/x86.

    PA Semi had created the equivalent to a PowerPC G6, complete with ultra low power utilizations. And, that’s why Apple bought PA Semi.

    So, yes, Apple is now a chip company. Their first chip, the Apple A4, is already more powerful than snapdragon. And, you can rest assured, Apple is working on engineering that well past the Cortex A8 platform.

  5. rlowell

    Oh yeah. I forgot about all that. 🙂

    I’m not sure what ARM’s restrictions are for an architectural license. But maybe that’s a way for Apple to get what it wants (a superior ARM CPU) without hosing the rest of the ARM customers.


  6. Christopher Price

    I suspect the DOJ will want Apple to continue to allow licensing, and there are probably poison pills in each ARM supplier that ensure ARM relations have to continue.

    Apple’s tactic might be though to gain patents from ARM and leverage them on a separate not-ARM division. A one-off platform that is ARM-compatible but just outside of spec enough to lock out other chip makers.

    Apple benefits from lead time to market. I suspect they want their chips to go first, so they don’t get in a situation where Nexus One beats iPhone in the CPU department. Apple could make ARM their own core over time, and they might, I just don’t think it’s in their interest to be on their own CPU, and sacrifice the ecosystem of lucrative, CPU-compatible chipsets. They know how that feels after years of PowerPC… and PowerBook G5s were not a pretty sight.