Skip to Content

$32 Billion Buyout of ARM Is a Giant Bet on the Internet of Things

The Japanese telecom and Internet company SoftBank is taking control of technology that powers most of the world’s mobile devices (and increasingly more besides).

The Japanese telecom and Internet company SoftBank is gaining control of technology used to run most of the world’s mobile devices and has the financial wherewithal to compete more aggressively with Intel.

SoftBank is spending $32 billion to buy ARM Holdings, which licenses the chips used in not just smartphones but also an increasing number of Internet-connected domestic appliances and now even supercomputers. Its chips are best known for their energy efficiency, which is why they’ve proven so popular—extending battery life in smartphones and cutting power bills for larger devices. Among the companies that license ARM’s designs are Apple, Qualcomm, and Nvidia.

Intel should be especially worried by the purchase. The once-dominant chipmaker missed the boat on chips for mobile devices, allowing ARM to dominate the sector. The takeover by Softbank could give ARM far more resources to invest in products that further erode Intel’s market share. Chief among those could be Internet of Things hardware, which its chips are well-suited to.

SoftBank, which owns a controlling stake in Sprint in the U.S., among many other international properties, promises to maintain ARM’s brand-agnostic approach, in which it licenses technology to multiple partners. That will be worth watching. Given ARM’s dominant market position, even subtle changes to the ways in which it provides rights to processor designs could have a profound impact upon the smartphone and tablet industry.

(Read more: Bloomberg, “Moore’s Law Is Becoming Irrelevant,”Why Intel’s Job Cuts May Be Just the Beginning,” “Supercomputer Powered by Mobile Chips Suggests New Threat to Intel,” “Intel Outside as Other Companies Prosper from AI Chips”)

 

Keep Reading

Most Popular

SpaceX Starship
SpaceX Starship

How SpaceX’s massive Starship rocket might unlock the solar system—and beyond

With the first orbital test launch of Starship on the horizon, scientists are dreaming about what it might make possible— from trips to Neptune to planetary defense.

Conceptual illustration of a therapy session
Conceptual illustration of a therapy session

The therapists using AI to make therapy better

Researchers are learning more about how therapy works by examining the language therapists use with clients. It could lead to more people getting better, and staying better.

Conceptual illustration showing a file folder with the China flag and various papers flying out of it
Conceptual illustration showing a file folder with the China flag and various papers flying out of it

The US crackdown on Chinese economic espionage is a mess. We have the data to show it.

The US government’s China Initiative sought to protect national security. In the most comprehensive analysis of cases to date, MIT Technology Review reveals how far it has strayed from its goals.

conceptual illustration showing various women's faces being scanned
conceptual illustration showing various women's faces being scanned

A horrifying new AI app swaps women into porn videos with a click

Deepfake researchers have long feared the day this would arrive.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.