Apple Rumoured to Acquire Microprocessor Developer ARM

Apple May Be Interested in Acquisition of ARM

by Anton Shilov
04/22/2010 | 02:16 PM

Apple, a maker of consumer electronics and personal computers, may be interested in taking over ARM Holdings, a leading designer of low-power microprocessor technologies, according to rumours floating over London Stock Exchange. Both companies, however, deny that such talks exist.


“A deal would make a lot of sense for Apple. That way, they could stop ARM's technology from ending up in everyone else's computers and gadgets,” one trader said in an interview with London Evening Standard news-paper.

After the rumours emerged at LSE, the price per share started to increase rapidly and traders valued ARM at more than £5.2 billion (around $8 billion). The current market capitalization of ARM is £3.28 billion (around $5.05 billion). Apple has $24.8 billion in cash.

ARM powers the absolute majority – circa 98% – of mobile phones and acquisition of ARM by Apple would be dramatic for the industry. While Apple is known for supporting open standards in terms of interconnections or software, Apple is not known for sharing its proprietary technologies, which means that after potential acquisition of ARM its technologies would have become the sole property of Apple. Moreover, Apple is more than interested in proprietary system-on-chip designs and micro-architectural enhancements. Grabbing ARM, virtually the only designer of low-power microprocessor technologies, will let Apple to gain a lead over its rivals on the market of mobile phones, something that will immediately solve virtually all legal problems with companies like Nokia.

The potentially acquisition of ARM by Apple, however, might allow companies like Intel Corp. to establish positions on the market of handheld devices, particularly smartphones, with their x86-based system-on-chip products.

The head of ARM denied any talks regarding possible takeover by Apple, claiming that it would be much cheaper to license ARM’s technologies than to acquire the whole company.

“Exciting though it is to have the share price pushed up by these rumours, common sense tells us that our standard business model is an excellent way for technology companies to gain access to our technology. Nobody has to buy the company,” said Warren East, chief executive officer of ARM, in a brief interview with the Guardian.