Photo Credit: Reuters
According to industry insiders cited by The Financial Times, Arm is planning game-changing maneuvers for the beginning of 2024. With the IPO taking place this year, Arm hopes to boost revenues by doing away with the royalties that are charged by chipmakers for each SoC sold and replacing them with fees that are dependent on the value of each smartphone.
Early in 2022, the Nvidia-Arm merger was halted, much to the relief of the IT&C sector. Meanwhile, a number of businesses attempted to organize consortiums to take strategic control of Arm, but SoftBank, the corporation that presently owns the company, chose to disregard all those grand ideas and instead concentrate on an IPO that is expected to take place later this year. The issue with Arm, at least prior to the Nvidia takeover effort, was that, despite significant chip design demands from the smartphone industry, it was somehow posting stagnant revenues and declining earnings. Arm is now aiming to raise chip design charges with a complete reworking of its licensing model in an effort to increase the firm valuation in light of the IPO.
Photo Credit: CNET
The Financial Times cites a number of business leaders and ex-employees who claim that Arm plans to stop charging design royalties for each SoC supplied by chipmakers like Qualcomm or MediaTek and instead bill the smartphone manufacturers based on the cost of each individual device. As a smartphone is obviously more expensive than the SoC it is powered by, this should result in more earnings. “SoftBank[…] is testing the market worth of the monopoly that Arm has,” as one former employee of Arm described it. Early 2024 would see the implementation of this move, but Chinese smartphone manufacturers like Xiaomi and Oppo have not yet agreed to these conditions.
The majority of devices that incorporate processors with Cortex-A cores would be subject to the new royalty structure. Sravan Kundojjala, a TechInsights analyst, asserts that up until recently, Arm charged 1-2% per chip, while Qualcomm processors sell for $40, MediaTek processors for $17, and Unisoc processors for $6. The expected cost of a smartphone in 2022 is $335, although Arm will likely want less than 1% to 2% of that sum.
Photo Cedit: HWCooling.net
According to industry insiders, the new royalty structure will not apply to Arm clients who are both chipmakers and device manufacturers, like Apple.