Masterful turnaround for Qualcomm, which has just announced the takeover of the start-up Nuvia for $ 1.4 billion. Founded in 2019, it has among its ranks prestigious engineers who could help the Californian giant to give a new dimension to its SoCs.
1.4 billion. This is the substantial sum that Qualcomm has just invested for the acquisition of Nuvia. This American start-up founded in early 2019 and released from anonymity a few months later may not ring a bell, and yet it could represent the most judicious acquisition made by Qualcomm in recent years. By buying Nuvia, the American SoC giant is in fact securing the services of a team with very high added value… a team made up of former engineers from Google, Apple, Broadcom and AMD.
Among these top engineers: Gerard Williams III, known in the industry for having been Apple’s chief CPU architect for more than 10 years. It was notably under his leadership that the formidable Lightning cores of the A13 Bionic chip were designed. Better, as indicated AnandTech, the person concerned was probably still in control when the technological bases of the A14 and especially M1 chips were laid.
Redistribute the cards on the SoC market
It was in November 2019 that Nuvia unveiled its ambitions: to attack Intel and AMD head-on by developing innovative high-performance chips, and in particular a SoC for servers equipped with a CPU core nicknamed “Phoenix”.
According to Nuvia this internally designed core would, once launched, send Intel and AMD back to the Stone Age, both in terms of raw performance and energy efficiency. Claims which might seem outrageous, but which deserve attention in view of the emeritus engineers that Nuvia has been able to bring together around a common project.
For Qualcomm, the takeover of Nuvia could prove to be extremely advantageous. Not only should the firm take advantage of the start-up’s talents to improve performance and reduce the consumption of its Snapdragon SoCs for smartphones and laptops (with the tempting prospect of finally being able to match or even beat Apple’s chips in the long term), but it could take the opportunity to try again on the SoC market for servers. As recalled AnandTech, Qualcomm made a foray into its sector in 2018 with its Centriq range, but without meeting success.
By buying Nuvia and using its “Phoenix” CPU core, Qualcomm would also have in mind to separate from the Cortex cores designed by the English ARM (recently owned by Nvidia), and thus gain independence… but also competitiveness.
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