ARM, Imagination Carve Up MIPS, Chip Patents
ARM is looking to bolster its already strong position in the mobile chip space by putting $167.5 million toward buying 580 MIPS processor patents.ARM Holdings and Imagination Technologies are divvying up longtime mobile chip designer MIPS Technologies in a move that will bolster each company’s capabilities in the increasingly competitive space. Imagination will buy the business of MIPS and 82 of the patents to its MIPS architecture for about $60 million. The acquisition will enable Imagination, which is known for its graphics core technology found in various mobile chips, to become a larger player in CPU development and licensing, bringing it into closer competition with ARM. "I believe that the combination of our existing Meta CPU technologies and activities with MIPS' capabilities will help us to create a new force to be reckoned with in the CPU IP market,” Imagination CEO Hossein Yassaie said in a statement. “I am confident the acquisition will accelerate our growth in the substantial CPU IP market across many segments. We have been working closely with MIPS for several years now and have a number of mutual customers and partners. I believe that this transaction will be welcomed by both companies' customers and the electronics industry at large." Meanwhile, ARM—whose low-power chip designs can be found in most smartphones and tablets—is a key member of Bridge Crossing, a consortium of tech companies that is buying the rights to 580 patents and patent applications in MIPS’ portfolio that touch on microprocessors and system-on-a-chip (SoC) design and related technologies. The Bridge Crossing consortium will pay $350 million for the patents, with ARM putting up $167.5 million of that.
ARM officials said having the rights to the patents will enable continued SoC innovation without the threat of litigation around the MIPS patents. The members of Bridge Crossing will make licenses to the patents available to nonmembers. Bridge Crossing represents tech companies in the Allied Security Trust consortium, including Avaya, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, Oracle and Research In Motion, according to ARM.