Nvidia’s Arm Acquisition Raises Licensing Questions

Nvidia has acquired Arm in a recent deal valued at US$ 40 billion, which will be met through a combination of Nvidia shares and cash. According to the announcement, the acquisition is aimed at driving innovation in AI.

“Uniting NVIDIA’s AI computing capabilities with the vast ecosystem of Arm’s CPU, we can advance computing from the cloud, smartphones, PCs, self-driving cars and robotics, to edge IoT, and expand AI computing to every corner of the globe,” said Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia.

Additionally, Nvidia will retain Arm’s headquarters in Cambridge, UK and plans to establish an AI research and education center and build an Arm/Nvidia-powered AI supercomputer.

Nvidia will also continue Arm’s open-licensing model and expand Arm’s IP licensing portfolio with Nvidia technology. As reported by Reuters, "Huang also said that Nvidia will expand the model by licensing some of Nvidia’s designs—including its graphical processing unit, or GPU, technology—through Arm’s network of silicon partners. That move would in theory allow those companies to compete with Nvidia.” 

This could accelerate an industry shift away from Arm designs to RISC-V, according to a Reuters source.