Qualcomm to Acquire Chip Startup Nuvia, Founded by Ex-Apple Chip Designers, for $1.4 Billion
Qualcomm has reached an agreement to acquire Nuvia, a chip startup company founded by former Apple chip designers, for $1.4 billion, in an effort to compete with Apple and Intel (via Reuters).
Nuvia was founded by three former Apple chip designers that worked on the A-series chips for the iPhone. Among Nuvia's key projects is a custom CPU core design set to be used in servers, but Qualcomm is reportedly planning a broad use of Nuvia's processors in flagship smartphones and laptops, as well as vehicle infotainment and driver-assistance systems.
Qualcomm hopes to re-establish a leading position in chip performance after years of well-publicized patent licensing litigation with Apple and disputes with regulatory authorities. The deal is expected to help Qualcomm reduce its reliance on Arm, which is being purchased by rival company Nvidia for $40 billion.
Most of Qualcomm's current chip designs are licensed directly from Arm. While Nuvia's chips use Arm's underlying architecture, they are custom designs. This could help to lower licensing costs to Arm in the short term and aid the move to a rival architecture in the long term.
Both Qualcomm and Nuvia have had significant disputes with Apple in recent years. In 2017, Apple sued Qualcomm for charging unfair royalties for "technologies they have nothing to do with." One of Nuvia's founders, Gerard Williams III, was sued by Apple for breach of contract. Apple accused Williams of recruiting Apple employees to Nuvia while he was still employed at the company, but it did not bring charges against Nuvia itself.