Qualcomm buys NUVIA for $1.4 bn to boost connected computing biz

Qualcomm Technologies has revealed the acquisition of NUVIA for $1.4 billion that will assist the chipset giant to position Snapdragon as the preferred platform for connected computing.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G mobile platformNUVIA has a CPU and technology design team, with expertise in high performance processors, Systems on a Chip (SoC) and power management for compute-intensive devices and applications.

The addition of NUVIA CPUs to Qualcomm Technologies’ mobile graphics processing unit (GPU), AI engine, DSP and dedicated multimedia accelerators will extend the leadership of Qualcomm Snapdragon platforms.

NUVIA CPUs will be integrated across Qualcomm Technologies’ products, powering smartphones, next-generation laptops, and digital cockpits, as well as Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, extended reality and infrastructure networking solutions.

“5G, the convergence of computing and mobile architectures, and the expansion of mobile technologies into other industries are significant opportunities for Qualcomm,” said Cristiano Amon, president and CEO-Elect, Qualcomm.

NUVIA founders Gerard Williams III, Manu Gulati and John Bruno, and their employees will be joining Qualcomm.

Gerard Williams, CEO of NUVIA, said: “The combination of NUVIA and Qualcomm will bring the best engineering talent, technology and resources together to create a new class of high-performance computing platforms that set the bar for our industry.”

Qualcomm’s decision to acquire Nuvia, a chip startup founded by Apple veterans, will enable to chip major to put Nuvia’s technology into its smartphone, laptop and automotive processors.

The deal marks a big push by Qualcomm to reestablish a leading position in chip performance after several years of high-profile patent licensing litigation with rival Apple and regulatory authorities, Reuters reported.

It also comes amid a change in the helm with Qualcomm announcing this month that Cristiano Amon, its current president and head of its silicon division, will replace outgoing CEO Steven Mollenkopf, effective June 30.

Founded by three of Apple’s former top semiconductor executives in charge of iPhone chips, Nuvia has been working on a custom CPU core design that it had said would be used in server chips.

Qualcomm plans a broad use of Nuvia’s processors, saying they would power flagship smartphones, next-generation laptops, infotainment systems and driver-assistance systems among other applications.

While laptop makers have traditionally turned to Intel Corp for processors, Qualcomm has been supplying PC chips for several years to firms such as Samsung Electronics and Microsoft.

The deal is also significant because it could help lessen Qualcomm’s reliance on Arm, which is being purchased by Qualcomm rival Nvidia for $40 billion.

Most of Qualcomm’s current chips use computing cores licensed directly from Arm, while Nuvia’s cores use Arm’s architecture but are custom designs. For Qualcomm, using more custom core designs – a move that Apple has also made – could lower some licensing costs to Arm in the short term and make it easier to move to a rival architecture in the longer term.

While Qualcomm and Apple have resolved disputes over Qualcomm’s patent royalties, Nuvia and Apple have been at loggerheads.

In 2019, Apple sued Nuvia’s CEO Gerard Williams III, alleging Williams recruited Apple employees to Nuvia while he was still employed at Apple.