Today Qualcomm is announcing that the company has completed the acquisition of NUVIA, a start-up company consisting of industry veterans who were behind the creation of Apple’s high-performance CPU cores, and who were aiming to disrupt the server market with a new high-performance core called “Phoenix”.
The acquisition had been announced only several weeks ago in mid-January, so the whole process has been extremely speedy in terms of timeline.
“Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM) today announced that its subsidiary, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., has completed its acquisition of the world-class CPU and technology design company, NUVIA for $1.4 billion before working capital and other adjustments.”
Today Qualcomm even went as far as put out a concrete roadmap for new SoCs using the newly acquired IP from Nuvia:
“The first Qualcomm Snapdragon platforms to feature Qualcomm’s new internally designed CPUs are expected to sample in the second half of 2022 and will be designed for high performance ultraportable laptops. “
Sampling in late 2022 would require a tape-out in early 2022, and a design-in essentially as soon as possible following the acquisition today. The whole process seems extremely fast and aggressive in terms of timing, pointing out that Qualcomm is putting a lot of emphasis on the project.
Qualcomm had shown a lot of positive reaction to Apple M1, I quote our interview with Alex Katouzian from back in December in terms of their reaction to the competitor design:
“[…] the laptops these days are really moving towards mobile. The camera is super important. The audio is super important. The battery life is super important. Not having a fan is super important. Portability, thinness, connectivity, always-on always-connected, all those traits of mobile are moving to the PC.
And people say, imitation is the best form of flattery. Look at look what happened with the [Apple] M1. Their product pitch is almost a duplicate of what we’ve been saying for the past two or three years.”
NUVIA’s prompt acquisition and immediate disclosure of plans to tackle the high-performance ultraportable laptop market could be seen as Qualcomm’s direct response to the new Apple M1 powered laptops and to compete with their high-performance CPU cores.
The company still doesn’t clarify what will happen to NUVIA’s original plans of entering the enterprise market – whether the server SoC plans will continue in parallel, or whether will be all hands on deck to refocus on consumer computing platforms.