Apparently, there is a lot of speculation in London’s finance world about the possibility of Apple acquiring ARM. For those who dont know, ARM( a UK based company) is a leading manufacturer of processors which are widely used in a plethora of mobile phones — Nokia, Sony Ericsson and even in iPods, iPhones, iPads and the Sony PSP. ARM’s focus on providing chips for mobile devices as opposed to traditional desktops brought rich dividends for the company as the market for smart-phones expanded massively in the last 5 years. Intel is still trying to play catch-up with ARM in this market.
Many of the Android-based smartphones run on ARM chipsets too. Android phones being the biggest competition for Apple’s iPhone, you dont need to be a rocket scientist to figure out the benefits Apple will have acquiring ARM. Apple will then be supplying the chipsets for all its competitors and this might force the phone manufacturers to look at other chips (Intel’s Atom or Moorestown maybe?). If this news gets confirmed i’m sure phone companies will be up in arms alleging that the deal will cede virtual monopoly and control over the mobile phones market to Apple. This will raise questions of Anti-Trust law violations and would make it difficult for the acquisition to get approved by the regulatory bodies in US and EU.
However, this news just seems to be market speculation and the markets have been wrong many times before regarding Apple(understandable, considering the insane levels of secrecy it maintains). Apple has just posted a 90% jump in earnings buoyed by strong iPhone sales, has had a good run with the initial sales of iPads and are well on course to unveil their new iPhone this June. They’ve also been getting flak for new restrictive terms in the Developers License (which prevents developers from using 3rd party software to develop apps for the iPhone) and blocking out Flash for the iPhone and iPads. With so much on their platter i really doubt they have set their eyes on ARM….yet.