Talk about having a vision! ARM Holdings, a hardware firm whose instruction set and processor designs power the majority of consumer products out there, is on a mission.
Of hiking up licensing costs to customers.
The company rode the success train after the rising popularity of smartphones, and its imprint can now be found in almost every consumer device out there today — ranging from phones and tablets to wearables, and more recently laptops.
Companies like Qualcomm license instruction set as well as CPU designs from ARM and pay royalty, with vendors like Microsoft then using these chips in their wares. Apple also very recently joined the party, switching its Mac lineup to custom ARM-based cores.
Apparently, officials at ARM are seeing this differently.
According to reports, they have hiked license costs by as much as four times for some customers during recent negotiations. This move is being seen as being out of proportion to the improvements in technology, leading to some of the licensees to consider alternatives.
The most viable one being RISC-V.
An open standard.
ARM already rakes in millions of dollars from licensing fees each year, and this is on top of the billions it receives in royalty payments from chips that are designed based on its architecture. Microsoft has also got a little something called Windows on ARM going for it.
A steep rise in these fees will impact both consumers and companies, as hardware makers will be forced to increase the final product prices to make up for this increase.