SoftBank approached Apple to bid for Arm Holdings, the popular chip designer, however, the Cupertino giant did not show interest in pursuing a bid.
As reported by Bloomberg, Apple does not seem interested in buying any partial or full stake of Arm. Such an acquisition would go against Apple’s business model, which does not involve licensing hardware or software to other OEMs. It might also raise regulatory concerns, as Arm licenses technology to many of Apple’s competitors in the industry.
The two firms had preliminary discussions, but Apple isn’t planning to pursue a bid. Arm’s licensing operation would fit poorly with Apple’s hardware focused business model. There may also be regulatory concerns about Apple owning a key licensee that supplies so many rivals. Representatives from SoftBank and Apple declined to comment.
SoftBank has been pursuing various companies to sell Arm Holdings. The company is not up for cheap though. SoftBank acquired it for $32 billion in 2016 and would be looking for higher returns through a sale.
Arm’s chip technologies are used by every popular smartphone manufacturer around the world, which include Apple, Samsung, Google, and more. Apple is one of the biggest consumers of Arm’s technologies and has produced over 2 billion chips based on it. Apple will be transitioning all of its Mac line-up to its custom silicon over the next 2 years, which will be based on Arm’s processor architecture. If Arm Holdings is acquired by any of Apple’s competitors, it might raise a few concerns over the future usage of its technologies.
Apple and Arm’s partnership goes more than a few decades back. The companies first worked together in the late 1980s on Arm6 architecture, which was used in the company’s first handheld device called Newton. Since then, Apple released iPod, iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch, all of which have relied on Arm processors, with Apple’s own custom designs.
In related news, Nvidia is also interested in taking over Arm and is in talks with SoftBank, at the same time when the company is talking to other bidders. Nvidia’s takeover makes perfect sense however, the acquisition will raise regulatory concerns as many of its rivals are licensees of Arm’s chip technologies.