Qualcomm on Wednesday said it will acquire Nuvia, a chip startup founded by Apple veterans, for $1.4 billion, with plans to put the firm’s technology into its smartphone, laptop and automotive processors.
In 2019, Apple sued Nuvia’s Chief Executive Gerard Williams III, alleging Williams recruited Apple employees to Nuvia while he was still employed at Apple. Apple did not sue Nuvia itself and no trail date has been set.
Founded by three of Apple’s former top semiconductor executives in charge of iPhone chips, Nuvia has been working on a custom CPU core design that it had said would be used in server chips.
Qualcomm, however, plans a broad use of Nuvia’s processors, saying they would power flagship smartphones, next-generation laptops, infotainment systems and driver-assistance systems among other applications.
The deal is also significant because it could help lessen Qualcomm’s reliance on Arm Ltd, which is being purchased by Qualcomm rival Nvidia Corp for $40 billion.
Most of Qualcomm’s current chips use computing cores licensed directly from Arm, while Nuvia’s cores use Arm’s underlying architecture but are custom designs. For Qualcomm, using more custom core designs – a move that Apple has also made – could lower some licensing costs to Arm in the short term and make it easier to move to a rival architecture in the longer term.
MacDailyNews Take: Qualcomm had to do something. Apple’s way, way ahead and accelerating.