updated 11:40 pm EDT, Wed April 21, 2010
Traders think Apple may get ARM to shut out rivals
An unusual rumor late Wednesday has claimed that Apple might try to buy ARM. The gossip was sparked by the iPhone maker's record quarterly results and a believe that the over $40 billion in cash might be used to corner the mobile processor market. Speculation by stock traders sent shares of ARM up 8.1 percent on the UK exchange.
Such a deal would be difficult or potentially impossible for Apple due to legal issues. As most smartphones from HTC, LG, Nokia, Samsung and others now use some form of ARM architecture, Apple could either end licensing or else use its ownership to impose unfavorable terms. Unfair advantages in the processor market have also come under scrutiny and may do so again, as the EU fined Intel for allegedly abusing its dominance to hurt AMD in part because it owned a licensed chip architecture and could use that to squeeze out a competitor.
To date, Apple has never owned an architecture and only just began releasing products with custom processors following this month's shipping of the iPad, whose A4 chip is based on ARM's Cortex-A8.