Qualcomm buys Nuvia for $1.4 Billion

Big hole filled in Qualcomm’s lineup

Nuvia LogoToday Qualcomm bought ARM server startup Nuvia for $1.4B to fill a big hole in their portfolio. While SemiAccurate didn’t see this one coming, we think it is a really good fit for the phone giant.

You might recall that Qualcomm had a very interesting server program a few years ago, but that was abruptly ended with the Apple backed takeover attempt by Broadcom. This was quite a shame because from what SemiAccurate knew of their roadmap, there were some very interesting bits on it. Since then Qualcomm first backed off custom consumer ARM core development and is looking like they took the foot off the gas on the GPU development side too. This is a shame because all three IP blocks were class leading at the time of their demise.

Then came the Apple M1 which put everything Qualcomm did to shame and showed that there was indeed a market for custom ARM cores, and it could be a very big one. If Qualcomm was going to be in the PC space, they needed a way to step out from the pack of adequate but similar offerings. And then they launched a base station/infrastructure program, maybe, and it was clear that they had to have a server class core, custom or licensed.

Enter Nuvia, the custom ARM server core startup with many A-listers on staff. In case you missed it, the chief architect of the M1 chip that likely scared Qualcomm silly is none other than the CEO and chief architect at Nuvia, something that likely was a factor in the acquisition. Taking a positive view on the merger, Qualcomm brings a lot of resources to Nuvia’s task plus an incredible IP library that will only make things go in the right direction faster. This isn’t to say that Nuvia was short of anything but more won’t hurt.

So with Nuvia, Qualcomm has all the pieces for a top to bottom ARM portfolio, from smart widgets to fire breathing server SoCs. If they leverage the cores right, it will also allow them to have a first class PC offering in a few years. As long as politics don’t get in the way of engineering, something we thing the savy folk at the top of Qualcomm are smart enough to avoid, this could be a very good thing for both sides. SemiAccurate can’t wait to see what comes out in a year or two, it should liven up an already vibrant market.S|A

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Charlie Demerjian

Roving engine of chaos and snide remarks at SemiAccurate
Charlie Demerjian is the founder of Stone Arch Networking Services and SemiAccurate.com. SemiAccurate.com is a technology news site; addressing hardware design, software selection, customization, securing and maintenance, with over one million views per month. He is a technologist and analyst specializing in semiconductors, system and network architecture. As head writer of SemiAccurate.com, he regularly advises writers, analysts, and industry executives on technical matters and long lead industry trends. Charlie is also available through Guidepoint and Mosaic. FullyAccurate