I hoped that Nuvia, given its great team of ex-Apple CPU architect engineers, would maintain its independence and become a full-fledged competitor in the desktop and server market. Instead, they sold to a company that is often described as "the Oracle of hardware companies" and "a law firm with a few engineers".
> maintain its independence and become a full-fledged competitor in the desktop and server market.
If I had to guess, Nuvia's expertise will be used to optimize Qualcomm's ARM, Adreno and Hexagons for the next generation of Snapdragon cx. Qualcomm and Microsoft dipped their toe into this market and now that Apple is all-in, they need an answer to the M1. They won't get there with reference designs from ARM.
But once they're producing optimized ARMs for SoC apps processors, who's to say that they couldn't re-enter the server space?
They got lucky and a handful of their early patents became required parts of early cellular standards. Since then they've lobbied the standards bodies to include features that require their newest patents. When that fails, because the mobile manufacturers are tired of Qualcomm's monopoly, they simply buy up more patents to make up the difference.
Yet, very remarkable given that they were nearly stomped out of the market around 2010-2012 by previously "no-name" SoC makers, making cookie cutter SoCs cheap, fast, and selling by tons.
Yet, they recovered, and clawed back their way to the top, with only MediaTek now threatening them.
I don't expect MediaTek to be as inept, and Pavlovian if Qualcomm will ever come to them with a deal, as they did with Allwinner 8 years ago (Allwinner gave up on mobile market, and Qualcomm gave them an obscene cut from their low-end Snapdragons in return.)
And knowing Taiwanese, they simply don't sell companies owners spent their life working on. Very ego driven business culture.
this would help explain why all winner was on a roll making pretty great chips and has shipped absolutely worthless tripe for! he past 5 years. re-spins of rhe same shit they had been making. the chip making game feels so diseased.
But on the other hand they didn't have many other viable options did they? Their expertise is ARM and they need a BigCo to back their R&D and subsequently manufacturing. So that leaves them with Nvidia and Samsung as options.
I feel the same. It is always hard to make these sorts of acquisitions work because the in house team that you're augmenting/replacing always interprets this move as a criticism of their abilities. I've seen this lead to some pretty dysfunctional (and destructive) behavior.
except in this case there is no internal team as qc switched to stock arm cores, so they would actually be replacing arm which is acquired by nvidia and given that soc design's lead time qc might not want to disclose its future soc plans to arm.
With how similar processors are can you even have a small company without being threatened by patents at every corner? Part of the capitalism endgame isn't innovation, but to buy up potential competitors by having grey area ownership of the mechanisms they work with. Sometimes letting those companies then use your patents to continue work.
Nuvia has shown  they have designs with Pref Per Watts that rivals or exceed Apple's current A14. Normally these sort of pre-design and slides should be taken with a big pinch of salt from Startup. But this is from Gerard Williams, ARM Fellow and Architect of all current Apple CPU design. So i think they are plausible.
The improvement in Single Thread Performance is what Qualcomm desperately needs for their SnapDragon SoC. It will also reboot their ARM on Server work now that Apple and Amazon has the ball rolling.
Tremendous respect for CEO Steven Mollenkopf, retiring later this summer.
> Nuvia has shown  they have designs with Pref Per Watts that rivals or exceed Apple's current A14.
Your linked article 1) doesn't mention A14, and 2) only contains a marketing image for something that didn't yet exist. It doesn't appear like they _showed_ anything. Did you mean to link to a different article?
That's kind of interesting considering Qualcomm spent plenty-o-millions not many years ago to develop the ARM64 Falcor core and Centriq server SoC, only to throw it all away just before it was supposed to hit the market.
I don't think it's common, no. In the 1980s I think it happened more often (because they had a lot of assets that weren't reflected in the valuation maybe?).
But in Qualcomm's case they were arguably undervalued because of ongoing regulation/lawsuits regarding their licensing practices. IIRC they had shipped their Amberwing Centriq CPU but the reception was kinda lukewarm.
AWS ended up introducing Graviton not long after - presumably AWS wouldn't have sourced Centriq if they had their own designs in the works.
Do I remember wrong that Nuvia higher ups have stated that they wanted to bring products to market rather than get acquired?
P.S. I know such statements shouldn't be taken at face value anyway. Just curious.
I hope this means they are at least going to try to catch Apple. The complete lack of effort by them on the CPU side has been sad. Given hardware timelines, though, I'm sure any improvement is many years away.
I feel like 202x might be another decade where no new chip making companies emerge. I had great hopes for Nuvia becoming one of them. My first most primitive reaction is that this is like another PA Semi: great talent & new prospects, fresh air, vanishing into one of the super-massive existing players.
Qualcomm does some open source work, but most of the support comes from outside engineers reverse engineering their products or otherwise doing the work. The Freedreno graphics driver for example allows their gpu to be used (OpenGL, Vulkan drivers), & has been a huge effort. That work mostly comes from Google engineers like Rob Clark (who started Freedreno iirc), Eric Anholt, Igalia engineers like Danil, & countless others.
In the wifi-router world, where Qualcomm also has a huge presence, we rely on hunting around for open-source code drops of what usually seems like pretty old but better than we've got code, such as this recent find, which is hopefully going to help us catch a couple years up in support level to what Qualcomm is doing today.
Nuvia explicitly stated they wanted to chase hyperscaler market. And I think a lot of this was positioning. That hyper-scalers wanted good tech, would use good tech. Where-as a lot of the world, they want what they have but better, a lot of legacy concerns, hand holding. Nuvia wanted to build a new platform, a good, well supported platform, with next-gen technologies. We were all expecting open-source perhaps Rust-based firmwares & management systems, pursuant to latest OpenCompute Project specs &c. They were clear about targetting hyper-scalers, & big chips, but somehow the hope always was that they'd help reform & reshape computing & what was available to everyone. They certainly talked the good game, sounded real good on Twitter. Ah well.
Seems like it is a an acquihire. I know somebody who said he gets a modest amount. Seems like they sold out too quickly? Series C or D would be better. But they just had A and sold out without a product?