Qualcomm, maker of mobile silicon chips, has announced the acquisition of CPU startup NUVIA for $ 1.4 billion, a deal that would certainly make competitors like IBM, AMD and even Apple take notice. The deal can be seen as a final compliment to outgoing CEO Steve Mollenkopf, who will retire in March after 26 years at the company.
The agreement brings with it NUVIA’s design expertise and senior leadership, made up of Apple engineers. This group was part of the team that had worked on the custom ARM CPU development for the latest MacBooks and iPhones. The deal should give Qualcomm access to several new markets and categories.
The brain behind NUVIA
For those first time hearing about NUVIA, this startup made headlines when it raised $ 53 million in Series-A funding in late 2019 and immediately followed with another $ 240 million fund injection into Series-B through Mithril.
Given the founding engineers’ background, these reports indicated that just as Apple’s M-series chips for its laptops became high-profile for its power and performance efficiency, NUVIA would follow suit with their CPUs and manage a higher level of performance with limited power requirements.
In the future, computing devices would look for highly efficient processors, as these data centers require significantly more power due to the increased demand for AI-based applications and cloud-powered computing. This is where the early investors on NUVIA hoped for some magic. However, with Qualcomm’s investments, they’ve made enough money and enabled high-quality consolidation.
In a press statementQualcomm says NUVIA’s technology will be integrated into the company’s chip lineup, with its leadership centered around the 5G-focused Snapdragon chip. The company’s founders and employees are expected to join, and the deal must be approved by U.S. regulators.
“Creating powerful, energy-efficient processors and highly integrated, complex SoCs are part of our DNA,” said Jim Thompson, Qualcomm’s Chief Technology Officer.
“Adding NUVIA’s in-depth knowledge of high-performance design and integrating NUVIA CPUs with Snapdragon – along with our industry-leading graphics and AI – will take computing performance to a new level and create new opportunities for products being used in multiple industries. operated. “
While NUVIA was hailed as a startup worth following and investing in, the fledgling company faced challenges of its own. One related to a legal battle co-founder Gerald Williams III fought with his former employer Apple over hiring policies.
Apple had filed a civil suit in 2019 alleging that its former employee’s attempt to recruit former colleagues for NUVIA was a breach of contractual obligations. A claim that Williams fought suggests that it was not. The case has since been pending in the California Superior Court of Santa Clara.
Whether this courtroom drama had anything to do with NUVIA’s decision to quit and join forces with the larger Qualcomm is something we’re not sure about. However, some of our readers would recall that Apple made moves that could cause them to abandon the Qualcomm chips.