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NVIDIA is acquiring UK-based chip design firm Arm for $40 billion.
Once the deal goes through, NVIDIA will control the fabric of the core technology of standalone VR & AR headsets. Arm will become a division of NVIDIA, but its headquarters will remain in the UK.
In the PC sphere, Intel & AMD design their CPUs and sell them as products to builders & PC vendors. They use the x86 instruction set architecture (ISA) developed by Intel- which it licenses to AMD for free because AMD developed x86-64, the 64 bit extension.
Arm’s business model is different — it developed the ARM ISA, and designs ARM CPU & GPU cores. It licenses the ISA & its cores to other companies- like Qualcomm, Samsung, Huawei, MediaTek, and NVIDIA itself for its chip lines like Tegra (used in the Nintendo Switch).
Almost every smartphone uses either a Qualcomm, Apple, MediaTek, Samsung or Huawei SoC- all of which use the ARM ISA. Samsung uses ARM core designs “as is”, whereas Apple uses the ARM ISA but designs its CPU cores in-house.
Facebook uses Qualcomm chipsets in its Oculus Quest line, as do other standalone headsets like Pico Neo 2. Qualcomm’s licenses Arm’s CPU core designs, but heavily customizes them.