Qualcomm, the US Qualcomm, who produces mobile processors such as ARM and Snapdragon, a semiconductor-based technology design asset (IP) company under the Japanese Softbank Group, and Qualcomm’s acquisition of Nubia in January last year, The semiconductor industry is shaking.

Following the early September, ARM complaints, which Qualcomm recently submitted to the US court for the countermeasures, ARM demanded licensing costs, as well as providing license to device manufacturers, and banning other companies’ IP mixing other than ARM. Because it turned out to be.

If ARM’s reorganization of the license system is being realized, Qualcomm and Media tech, which supplies various chips such as Snapdragon and Dime City to smartphone manufacturers around the world, as well as semiconductor industry such as Samsung Electronics, which seeks to strengthen competitiveness by strengthening GPU and Opus. A big blow is expected in the first half.

■ ARM Our contract is valid with Nubia… Qualcomm violates license

ARM filed Qualcomm and Nubia for alleged violations of the license agreement in late August and insisted that Qualcomm’s use of semiconductors developed by Nubia after Qualcomm’s number in January last year was a violation of the license.


ARM also explained, Qualcomm tries to move Nubia’s license without ARM’s consent. However, both Nubia and Qualcomm are developing various products based on the IP obtained through ARM and license contracts.

Qualcomm also suggested ARM in mid-October, and the legal battle between the two companies began.

■ The essence of litigation between both companies is license cost?

IT companies mobilize various means if they do not reach a smooth agreement in the negotiation table. The number of cases from public opinion to legal workshops vary, but at the core, there is ‘money’.

In fact, Qualcomm insisted that Nubia’s license cost is more expensive than Qualcomm paid. ARM wants to receive the same license costs in Qualcomm.

The lawsuit also seemed to be an ARM’s strategic action that wanted to benefit the license cost on the surface. The exit strategy to drop the cows after the two companies agreed to the right cost outside the court could also be expected.

■ Qualcomm ARM, I will only license to the device manufacturer

The US semiconductor media, Semi-Annalysys, also pointed out that the main purpose of this lawsuit, which ARM started, was to receive more license costs from Qualcomm.

But at the end of last month, Qualcomm submitted to the court, revealing that ARM is not just a matter of license costs in this battle.

In the director, which was released on the 28th (US local time), Qualcomm said, ARM will sign a license agreement that can use its IP from 2024 as a ‘device manufacturer’ and will not sign a contract for semiconductor companies. It was insisted.

■ Qualcomm, which supplies only Snapdragon chips, excludes contracts

According to Qualcomm, Samsung Electronics, which makes Galaxy smartphones with Enos, Google, which makes tensor pixel smartphones, Microsoft, which makes Surface laptops, and iPhone and iPad, can sign a license agreement with ARM. Have.

On the other hand, High Silicon, which develops Snapdragon Chip to Qualcomm, Dime City series that supplies Snapdragon chips to smartphone companies around the world, creates media tech and Karin chips to Huawei, and supplies them to Huawei. Do not make.

Therefore, if Qualcomm’s claim is true, Qualcomm, as well as Media tech and High Silicon, will not be able to design, manufacture or sell ARM architecture-based smartphones since 2024. This means that other companies with a business model that supplies only semiconductors without their own manufacturing devices can no longer use ARM IP.

■ Arm, I only need to use my own IP

However, there is another reason why Samsung Electronics and Google are unhappy even if ARM meets the requirements of ‘device manufacturers’.

Qualcomm said, ARM cannot provide GPU (graphic chipset), CPU (nerve network processing device), or ISP (ISP) that ARM is already producing in a product made of licensed manufacturers. ‘ I insist.

Samsung Electronics is equipped with RDNA2 architecture-based GPUs jointly developed with AMD instead of the Mali GPU developed by ARM in the ‘Enos 2200’ developed as a chip to be installed on the Galaxy S22 in January. Qualcomm also includes ‘Arena’ GPU and ‘Spectra’ ISP (image processing device), which was developed in Snapdragon Chip.

According to Qualcomm’s claims, this attempt is not possible in the ARM IP-based chip that will be produced after 2024. It means that ARM can only use CPU IP, CPU IP, and Mali GPU and ISP.

■ Concerns in the related industry… Semiconductor industry shaking major issues

Domestic and foreign semiconductor companies are watching the direction of the lawsuit.

In fact, the reorganization of the license system, which is planned by ARM, which is dominated in the global semiconductor IP market, can lead to a big wave throughout the industry. ARM has a market share of 90%for APs corresponding to smartphone brain and 40%in system semiconductor sectors.

An official in the semiconductor industry, who asked for anonymity, said, If Qualcomm’s claim is true, ARM’s attempt is a serious issue that can shake all the semiconductor industry.

As an intellectual property company, ARM is obliged to protect the rights of the company and the ecosystem as an intellectual property company, said ARM. I’m sure I’ll do it.