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Apple To Buy ARM? 695

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the rumor-mill-working-overtime dept.
gyrogeerloose writes "An article in the London Evening Standard claims that Apple has made an $8 billion offer to acquire ARM Holdings. For those few Slashdotters who don't already know, ARM makes the processor chips that power Apple's iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. However, ARM processors are also used by other manufacturers, including Palm and, perhaps most significantly, companies building Android phones. This explains why Apple might be willing to spend so much on the deal — almost 20% of its cash reserves. Being able to control who gets to use the processors (and, more importantly, who doesn't) would give Apple a huge advantage over its competitors."
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Apple To Buy ARM?

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  • Google (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Spad (470073) <slashdot @ s p a d . c o.uk> on Thursday April 22, 2010 @09:22AM (#31938124) Homepage

    Maybe Google had the inside track on this one which is why they made their move on Agnilux?

  • Mmmmm... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LordBmore (1794002) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @09:25AM (#31938166)
    There's nothing like a nice warm cup of unfounded speculation to start the day off right.
  • Re:Be very afraid. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by keithjr (1091829) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @09:27AM (#31938202)
    Although I'm not 100% in on your rhetoric, I think we agree, this would be terrible for the topology of the tech industry.

    To say that ARM makes smartphone processors is touching just the tip of the iceberg of ARM's influence: ARM is the embedded processor maker. They also don't make processors; they license IP, including to other chip companies like Intel. Apple acquiring ARM just to get better control over mobile hardware would send shockwaves into one of the most dynamic sectors of the tech industry today.
  • Nice Qoute (Score:5, Insightful)

    by e2d2 (115622) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @09:27AM (#31938204)

    I love this quote:

    "A deal would make a lot of sense for Apple," said one trader. "That way, they could stop ARM's technology from ending up in everyone else's computers and gadgets."

    And at the same time kill ARM's business! Hilarious.

  • by MBGMorden (803437) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @09:28AM (#31938216)

    Other than being able to steer the technology, I'm not sure what apple would be able to do?

    Not license the design? Even though it's being manufactured by many companies, the design is still licensed. If Apple decided to revoke those licenses then it doesn't matter who was making them, the supply would dry up.

  • by teh31337one (1590023) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @09:30AM (#31938252)
    This will be an Antitrust goldmine. And people say Microsoft are evil. Urgh.
  • Antitrust (Score:5, Insightful)

    by necro81 (917438) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @09:31AM (#31938260) Journal

    Being able to control who gets to use the processors (and, more importantly, who doesn't) would give Apple a huge advantage over it's competitors.

    And it is for this very simple reason that it would be blocked on antitrust grounds. Even if the slightly more lax regulators in the US would permit it, you can bet the Europeans wouldn't (ARM Holdings is based in the UK).

  • Re:Be very afraid. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @09:38AM (#31938382)
    Much as I hate Apple, I have to disagree on that point. Had Apple won the PC wars, it is likely that our current desktops would be just as powerful...but we would have a lot of difficulty making use of that power. In a world where Apple had control over our desktops, I imagine that third party developers would be largely left out of the loop, their programs reviewed and approved by Apple before making it onto our desktops, and so forth. It would also be a world where jokes about the amount of pornography available on the Internet would not exist...
  • Re:Be very afraid. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Culture20 (968837) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @09:43AM (#31938442)

    Oh gawd. Please. When is this hyperpoblic crap going to end?

    When Apple stops proving all of the previous hyperbolic crap to be true. The next step after ARM is buying a few more congressmen than Microsoft.

  • by Jer (18391) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @09:47AM (#31938500) Homepage

    Jobs has, at least since he shoved Woz off to the side, been about one thing - total vertical control of Apple's platforms.

    Apple has the money and the size now that they've been expanding that vertical control upward deeper into the application level of their machines via their appstore. It's not surprising to me at all that they would want to expand that vertical control down as well into controlling more and more of the hardware. That strikes me as a very Jobs/Apple thing to do.

  • Re:Be very afraid. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nadaka (224565) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @09:51AM (#31938532)

    You are aware that the TI OMAP processors are licensed ARM processors, are you not?

  • Re:Please don't... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by je ne sais quoi (987177) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @09:52AM (#31938550)

    I hope this doesn't happen, but if it does, I hope they leave the current ISA/availability/pricing scheme alone and just use ARM resources to improve their own products, but that is unlike Apple.

    You mean how Apple destroyed CUPS after they bought it? Or how about when they stopped upstreaming changes to webkit? Despite much hand-wringing by slashdotters about this, they didn't do either of these things and these projects are both fine. Apple contributes much more to open source [apple.com] than Microsoft does and while hardware is a different beast, the point is there is absolutely no evidence that Apple would ever stop selling ARMs to competitors.

    In any case, why the fuck would apple want to buy ARM? THey just bought P. A. Semi [engadget.com]. The whole article is just baseless speculation by people whose sole purpose in life is to drive page views while having the title "analyst".

  • Re:Nice Qoute (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @09:52AM (#31938562)

    Ya I don't know why the assumption is that someone else wouldn't step in to the market. Someone like, say, Intel perhaps. Right now, there isn't a ton of interest in new designs in that space because of ARM. They work well, are low powered, and licensed such that they can be implemented cheaply by many people. Intel used to use ARM architecture in their Xscale chips (which are quite popular) before they sold that division to Marvell. As such, there's not a big reason to try and muscle in to the market, you probably aren't likely to make a lot.

    However, if Apple decides to play king dick and charge a lot or simply say "Nope, nobody but us can have these chips," well that changes things. It isn't as though all the other mobile phone makers will shrivel up and die, rather they'll look for new hardware and someone like Intel will be happy to provide it for them.

    However, that aside, you have to consider that businesses are often very careful about the licenses they make. When licensing an architecture like ARM, they may well get a full architecture license that lets them implement any of the designs they've licensed, in any form, in perpetuity. That sort of contract comes with a company when you buy it. You don't get to throw out their obligations. So while Apple could for sure change new agreements, any of the ones that stand they can't.

    There's also the question of how willing companies that do the implementation of ARM, like Marvell, and fabs would be to play ball with Apple. Apple is only a small part of their business. So if Apple suddenly says "Nobody but us can have ARM," maybe Marvell says "Fine we aren't going to sell you any ARM chips." Now Apple has to design the final chip implementation, which isn't the same as the basic architecture. Then maybe the fabs say "Screw you, you've hurt our business cutting off ARM chips, we won't fab your product." Now they have to build or buy their own fab, which is massively expensive.

    Hardball can be played multiple ways in the business world and you often find out there is a lot of mutually assured destruction situations out there. I can't see a situation where Apple trying to keep ARM to themselves would do anything but cause a competitor to ARM to arise and be used.

  • Die Apple (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bbqsrc (1441981) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @09:53AM (#31938570) Homepage
    Don't hijack the one fucking processor that has a chance of possibly dethroning the wintel empire with its vast quantities of low energy and epic win.
  • by sznupi (719324) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @09:53AM (#31938574) Homepage

    Well, Microsoft are evil.

    That said, the summary has gross understatement...it's not just Palm or Android phones, it's essentially all phones. And unspeakable number of other consumer devices (heck, in your PC there are most likely more ARM cores than x86 ones...)

    This is one deal which EU might not let through.

  • by Angst Badger (8636) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @09:54AM (#31938594)

    Apple has long been more evil than Microsoft, just less successful at it. Microsoft, after all, just controls the operating system; Apple controls (or wants to control) everything from the operating system and the hardware to what kind of software you run and data you are allowed to access.

    The real tragedy here would be having ARM -- whose creativity and intrepid exploration of any and all markets are legendary -- come under the control of a company with a vision as narrow as Apple's. Instead of driving the development of thousands of new products, as ARM effectively does now, it would be channeled into solely serving Apple's tiny handful of fashionable, locked-down toys while creating artificial scarcity for countless companies who are doing something more than peddling the digital equivalent of designer handbags.

  • by Hognoxious (631665) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @09:54AM (#31938604) Homepage Journal

    And Apple does not YET have anywhere near a monopoly in the smartphone market.

    Undid the RDF for you.

  • by LordLucless (582312) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @09:56AM (#31938646)

    Yeah, but if Apple uses it's existing monopoly (ARM - assuming the deal goes through) to put the squeeze on other smartphone providers in an attempt to dominate the smartphone market, they're going to get smacked down. I guess it depends if the regulators think that's what Apple's planning to do with its purchase.

  • by Big Smirk (692056) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @09:57AM (#31938658)

    In the past Apple has avoided anti-trust because of their market share (or lack of) and real competition from the clone makers. If Apple moves to stifle competition, they can be assured that the hammer will come down. The risk isn't just from the FTC, but from Europe and Asia as well. Right now Apple enjoys 42% profit margins (IPAD and judging by what they want to for their computers, they probably make just as much off the desktop). If for instance the FTC steps in, the remedy might be splitting the company into two - one hardware, one software. The floodgates for cheap clones will be open at that point.

    Right now Apple enjoys a certain amount of lock in. You must buy from their store, you must develop for their platform the way they demand and use their computer with their operating system to do so. And of course fan boys to pay them.

    Do they really want to risk that?

    Full Disclosure: I was a fan boy in the early 1990s. About $7000 later (at that point more than I ever spent on a car), I was stuck with outdated hardware with no support from Apple to upgrade (just buy new). I also have a G4 - also outdated. So for the new every 2 (years) fans, congrats, I'm happy for you. My dual CPU, dual core Opteron setup (with SLI) was a slow evolution from ASUS dual P3 system that I bought circa 1999. Never spent more than $1000 at any upgrade step and only 'had' to upgrade every 3-4 years.

  • by poetmatt (793785) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @10:01AM (#31938742) Journal

    If Apple acquires ARM, a lot of people are going to reverse their investments in ARM. I doubt that 8BN will buy ARM though, I suspect they will now request 4-5x that at a minimum.

    ARM knows they have a very powerful future.

  • by tarsiermiller (1050942) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @10:09AM (#31938884)
    Why would Apple buy ARM and then kill off a great deal of its business? Doesn't make sense. Why would Apple buy ARM and get revenue from many competitors' successful sales as well? Ah hah! Apple wins if consumers buy iPhones, etc. And by owning ARM, Apple also wins when consumers buy Andriod, etc. MS and Palm can't get a piece of the Apple pie, but Apple can get a piece of theirs.
  • Re:Antitrust (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dmesg0 (1342071) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @10:10AM (#31938894)
    ARM is definitely a monopoly in mobile CPU IP. Apple is monopoly in some other areas (e.g. digital music players in the US). This should be enough to at least involve antitrust authorities. And with all the numerous ARM licenses affected by such acquisition, there will be a lot of pressure to block it.
  • by LWATCDR (28044) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @10:11AM (#31938930) Homepage Journal

    "Except that unfortunately Apple doesn't have the market share necessary for anti trust to kick in."
    But ARM does.

  • Re:Be very afraid. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @10:13AM (#31938952)
    http://www.pcworld.com/article/194387/apple_rejects_pulitzer_prize_winners_app.html [pcworld.com]

    Yes, it would be a bad thing if Apple had won the PC wars.
  • by Joce640k (829181) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @10:20AM (#31939080) Homepage

    Ack. DId you just invent that phrase or are you misremembering it from a PowerPoint presentation you saw last month?

    Either way you need to learn a bit more math.

  • by Dancindan84 (1056246) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @10:30AM (#31939248)
    Was Google already aware of this? They bought a small processor company Tuesday [slashdot.org]. Would make sense if they wanted to make sure manufacturers of their phones didn't suddenly end up without access to processors.
  • by haystor (102186) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @10:38AM (#31939352)

    Anti-competitive practices are extremely vague, however. Prices too high, gouging from monopoly. Prices too low, running out the competition to the monopoly. Prices the same as competitors, collusion.

  • by BlackSnake112 (912158) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @10:39AM (#31939368)

    Actually the EU and governments do have that right. Unless Apple is going to stop selling it's products to other countries, Apple will have to follow the rules of those countries. Buying the source (ARM in this case) and forcing competing companies to pay more is going to raise many, many red flags.

  • Re:Antitrust (Score:3, Insightful)

    by necro81 (917438) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @10:40AM (#31939372) Journal

    Gaining an advantage over your competitors is *not* grounds for anti-trust.

    Apple buying ARM Holdings wouldn't in an of itself be grounds for antitrust. But, the potential to then abuse that ownership to block out competitors that use ARM components in the smartphone/etc. markets would be. Rather than allow such a situation to come about, regulators would block the sale in the first place.

  • by DrgnDancer (137700) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @10:40AM (#31939374) Homepage

    I just don't know where to begin. There are several points around which the "Apple is evil, this will kill the industry" hysteria fails:

    1)This is a rumor. It's a completely unsubstantiated rumor. It may be true, there are a number of reasons it could be a good move for Apple, but it's sure as Hell not a fact yet. Calling Apple "evil" for something they may or may not even be doing seems a bit harsh.

    2) In the event that this rumor turn out to be true, the deal will face regulatory scrutiny from agencies in (at the minimum) the US and EU. Probably several Asian countries as well. So assuming that Apple is considering this bit of "evil", several country's regulatory agencies will have to be either "evil" or "stupid" before it becomes a problem.

    3) Assuming that Apple is really planning to make this bid, and it gets by the regulators, there are lots of reasons Apple would buy ARM, then simply continue with business as usual. ARM is hugely profitable. Buying them, then continuing their business model, would simply increase Apple's profits. Of course they would guide ARM's development to make things that Apple needs in particular, but a lot of those thing are the same as any other CPU customer would want. In this scenario Apple, at worst, is getting to guide ARM's dev model while getting their own licenses at a discount. Nice for them, but not game changing.

    4) Assuming the worst case scenario, Apple buys ARM, gets it past the regulators, then takes their new found power and starts abusing it; is it really all that bad? They won't simply be able to cancel all the license agreements ARM already has. They'll have to slowing cut off the supply of ARM tech to the industry as old agreements expire and new tech isn't licensed. Given that it will have to be a slow process, there's plenty of time for a new player (or players) to simply inch into the niche as ARM is inched out. I'm sure Intel, AMD, or some other company no one has heard of yet would love to take over ARM's spot.

    TL;DR: This is a rumor not a fact. It'll have to get by the regulators if it happens. If it turns out that it is real, and the regulators go for it, Apple may not abuse it. There's plenty of good reasons to leave things as they are mostly. If all of the worst possibilities occur, it still doesn't seem like it would be that awful for the industry, though it would certainly shake things up.

  • by Will Fisher (731585) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @10:41AM (#31939394)

    Er. TFA say the offer is 400p a share. Currently they trade at around 250p a share. This represents a 60% premium. Given that ARM is very close to its 52 week high, at 400p it's a no-brainer for the shareholders.

    I, however, don't really think that Apple is going to buy ARM. The Inquirer has a very good analysis of why not here: http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/1602331/apple-arm [theinquirer.net]

  • by truespin (807849) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @10:45AM (#31939446)

    42% profit is just factoring the cost of the parts
    This is not including R&D, manufacturing, transportation, marketing etc...

  • by Albanach (527650) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @10:49AM (#31939508) Homepage

    Antitrust is a crock. Nobody except for whomever owns the property of ARM has any right to say how ARM's processors can be used.

    Ah yes, because you know more about economics than every significant economist since the days of the Roman empire. And that's why you're sitting here posting on /. You're right and everyone from John Stuart Mill to Adam Smith got it wrong.

    Businesses are out to make money. If they are allowed to become a monopoly, they can simply create artificial scarcity by lowering production and consequently increasing prices beyond their natural level. It's happened before, will happen again in the future and is the reason there have been laws against it for the past few thousand years.

    This has nothing to do with property rights. It's to do with protecting the free market so it can continue to work as intended, to develop wealth and grow the economy.

    Typically laws don't outlaw being a monopoly - after all if you invent something new and have no competitors, you're a de facto monopoly and that's not illegal. Abusing a monopoly like I described above is where you get in trouble.

    Anti-trust regulators would look at why Apple would want to buy ARM and the likely impact on Apple's competitors. What can Apple gain through owning ARM that it doesn't get from being a customer? ARM license their IP widely, Apple can do pretty much as it likes with that technology - as it just did with the A4 chip. There's little obvious need for them to buy the company, other than to hinder their competitors.

  • by GreatBunzinni (642500) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @11:03AM (#31939776)

    I don't see it that way. The mobile computing market, the one which is envisioned to eclipse the personal computing market in favour of that "cloud" marketing crap on small, expendable, ultra-portable, increasingly more powerful and increasingly locked down and controlled by mega-corporations is easily worth more than 8 billion dollars. So if you manage to buy your way into the position of gatekeeper to a market which is constantly and rapidly growning and that you are already the leader... Well, you just guarantee your future. So, Apple may not "kill" the sales to other customers but, as Intel is known for doing, it can just as easily price their products out of the market, redirect ARM's product development to where they see fit. After all, do you actually believe that Apple will finance chip research and development which may put competition ahead or at least on par with what they put into their iPhones and the like? Obviously they won't. They will most certainly keep their high-end stuff inhouse for them to keep.

    And that's very scary. Apple has a long history of active and desperately trying to lock down and monopolize markets and market segments and this buyout has the potential of forcing Apple's brand of totalitarian capitalism right into our faces. And I can't possibly see that threat as a good thing, even in the eyes of the most hard-core Apple cheerleader/fanatic.

  • by SgtChaireBourne (457691) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @11:12AM (#31939902) Homepage

    It is not illegal to have a monopoly, it is illegal to abuse that monopoly. Whether Apple gets a monopoly or not in the handset market is not relevant until it looks like the position is being abused [pcworld.com].

    It seems like slashdot is getting fewer and fewer user posts and more and more M$ related astroturf.

  • by metamatic (202216) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @11:20AM (#31940040) Homepage Journal

    Other than commercial iPhone Apps, you don't have to buy anything from their store.

    That's like saying that other than mainframe software and spares, nobody had to buy anything from IBM. Or that other than gasoline, nobody had to buy anything from Standard Oil.

    And anyone can get the developer kit for iPhone and install any app they want.

    No, they can't, because the developer kit has conditions on what apps you are allowed to develop and install in the license, which you must explicitly agree to before you can download it.

    I don't see you complaining that you can't run some exclusive Xbox game on your PS/3 or Wii.

    Then you're not a console gamer. Do a quick Google Search for "GTA IV DLC PS3 2008" and you'll find endless amounts of complaining and flameage over the fact that some GTA IV content was Xbox-exclusive.

    Furthermore, you're engaging in the fallacy known as "tu quoque". And believe me, if anyone offered a console that was competitive with the PS3 but completely open, I'd be all over it. It's just that consoles have always been locked down. Phones and portable computers haven't, which is why Apple's attempt to start locking them down pisses people off.

    And finally, one must remember that ARM holdings licenses ARM technology to other companies to make their own specialized versions of ARM processors. They don't actually make all the ARM chips going into devices.

    And the chip manufacturers license the intellectual property from ARM holdings. If Apple owns ARM holdings and refuses to extend the IP contracts, the chip manufacturers can't make any more ARM chips. And if Apple adds clauses to the contract saying they can only sell to Apple-approved customers, or that chips sold to parties other than Apple require a more expensive license, well...

  • by dfghjk (711126) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @11:22AM (#31940074)

    Apple is only happy when they are using old, obsolete, failing technology that the industry has moved on from and that they can claim is superior and exclusive to them. They would do this so that they could deny competitors technology and claim that the best hardware comes from them. Competitors will simply move to other suppliers and that will succeed in the long run. Apple has never proven itself able to drive hardware successfully over time and this would be typical of their failed attempts in the past.

  • by pydev (1683904) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @11:23AM (#31940088)

    It's massively misleading to say that "ARM was founded by Apple and Acorn" and that they "want it back".

    ARM was founded long before Apple got involved, and the core architecture was developed without Apple's involvement. At some point, Apple started working with them because they had some special requirements for the Newton.

    Given Apple's current position, it would be an outrage if antitrust regulators allowed them to purchase ARM. And you would likely see the rest of the industry dropping the chip like a hot potato and coming up with their own alternatives.

  • by Hognoxious (631665) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @11:26AM (#31940138) Homepage Journal

    ARM does not have a monopoly on low-power chip. MIPS and many others are also in this game.

    The word "monopoly", despite what its Greek roots imply, does not mean there's precisely one supplier.

  • What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rickb928 (945187) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @11:44AM (#31940380) Homepage Journal

    "Apple has long been more evil than Microsoft, just less successful at it."

    Um, Apple owns its share of the market. OWNS. No one does what Apple does, not do they do something else as well, or as profitably.

    Microsoft is faced with competitors on every side. They are in a constant fight for preservation. And then there is their struggle with themselves, to maintain what quality they can in the face of such product diversity, demands of the market, and the other pressures including being an antitrust target every single day.

    Apple is very, very successful. Microsoft also. But in different ways. If I had to buy stock in either, it would be in Apple. If I had to predict who will be around in 50 years, it is almost a toss-up to me. That is only because Apple is actually Steve Jobs. His successor will have to have the same depth of vision, same drive, same demands and standards.

    And in that light, actually, Microsoft is a toss-up because so far it has transitioned from Gates as CEO. A big step.

    But Apple is better at what it does than Microsoft is at what IT does.

  • by blackraven14250 (902843) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @11:49AM (#31940462)
    Owning the supplier of a chip that's used in nearly every smartphone when you're in the smartphone business is very, very likely to at least raise many red flags with regulators.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 22, 2010 @11:55AM (#31940580)

    Yes, that long 3 year totalitarian lockdown of the App store. My great grandfather spoke of this madness...

    er..or where you referring to some other effort to lock down the market in our distant past?

    IF Apple buys ARM, they can't just go in and start charging more to the competition since they rely on these chips for their mobile hardware. It would be anti-competitive, where they currently are not (they don't own a lock in on an essential piece of hardware or software no matter how much you might hate them). The viability of the droid speaks to that just by it's existence.

  • Re:Please don't... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Altus (1034) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @12:02PM (#31940694) Homepage

    Apple has been burned in the past by chip makers not putting the R&D into the types of chips that apple wants. That was the issue with the PPC architecture. They dont worry about this much with intel because on the desktop and in laptops Apples needs arent that much different than those of PC manufacturers. Plus they don't have the cash to buy intel and there isnt really a competitive company for them to buy (though there have been rumors of Apple buying AMD).

    I think Jobs would like to have more control over the designs of the chips going into his products so this move would make sense.

  • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Thursday April 22, 2010 @12:07PM (#31940780) Homepage
    Sorry, but the 1990s were the absolute wrong time to be an Apple fan. That's when they sucked.
  • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Thursday April 22, 2010 @12:14PM (#31940878) Homepage

    I'd dispute that. Apple keeps pretty tight reigns on its own products, but they aren't very devious and don't particularly try to break interoperability. Apple uses an open source OS (the GUI stuff isn't open, but at its base OSX is a BSD varient). These days, Macs support X11, ODF, and common unix tools out of the box. They've contributed to open source projects, including their own calendar server and webkit. While Apple was pushing the record labels to drop DRM, allowing Apple to sell music in an open standard, Microsoft was pushing them to use Microsoft DRM and distribute music only in their own proprietary format. Apple has been one of the companies leading the charge in pushing HTML and CSS standards forward.

    Sorry, Microsoft has historically been far more evil and Apple. It's true, though, that Microsoft seems to be getting better these days, with things like supporting ODF, working with SAMBA, and planning to provide real/compliant support HTML5 in IE9.

  • by CAIMLAS (41445) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @12:27PM (#31941094) Homepage

    Apple is a vertically integrated monopoly: check.
    Apple engages in anti-competitive practices, as is, with restrictions on what can and can not run on their platform(s): check.

    Looks pretty clear cut to me that further vertical integration would be disadvantageous for customers.

  • by DrgnDancer (137700) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @12:58PM (#31941486) Homepage

    I don't see it. The only way Apple could have an immediate chilling effect on ARM licensees would be to immediately cancel or change the terms of current licenses. That won't fly. Regulators won't have to get involved. The licensee will immediately sue, and likely win quite quickly. It's a matter of civil law, not criminal law, to violate the terms of a contract. It will take years to whittle down the current licensees to a point where Apple would wield significant competitive advantage. Plenty of time for a new player to get into position.

    Anyway, I still don't see Apple even wanting to do this. ARM's profits are considerable; almost certainly on par with any other single division within Apple. This isn't a case of Apple buying a struggling supplier to prop them up; ARM can easily be a profit center in and of itself. There's no way that leveraging ARM, in and of itself, will increase profits on iPhones and iPads enough to completely eclipse the profit potential of ARM itself. Why buy a goose that lays golden eggs then strangle it for Christmas dinner one year.

    I see the thing working like this (assuming there is anything to the rumor at all). Apple makes an offer on ARM. Regulators get involved (as Apple is no doubt expecting that they will). Apple agrees to keep ARM as a wholly owned subsidiary, and otherwise makes various guarantees that they won't simple eat ARM and spit out the bones (as they likely hadn't been planning to do anyway). Regulators agree. Apple buys ARM. They give themselves excellent terms on licensing ARM's technology (obviously), and make it clear to ARM's management that several up and coming technologies (which Apple no doubt wants for iPhone 6.0) are now priorities. Otherwise, they leave things alone. ARM continues to license it's technology, it continues to make piles of money, and Apple adds a reasonable portion of those piles to its own piles.

    Does Apple gain certain competitive advantages? Certainly. They're going to be licensing ARM's tech at a significant discount I'm sure, and guiding ARM's R&D in the directions they need it to go (as well as knowing what those directions are ahead of time). That's not really game changing though. At best it let's Apple shave $10 off the cost of an iPhone (or make $10 more of each one). It's good. It helps them. It doesn't slaughter the competition. Meanwhile everyone else is still licensing ARM tech and Apple is making money off of that too.

  • by pydev (1683904) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @01:15PM (#31941750)

    Its a quite accurate statement to say Apple is a founder

    It is accurate, but it is also massively misleading because it suggests that Apple participated in the creation ARM, which they did not. All Apple really did was invest in already existing technology when a business reorganization gave them an opportunity to do that.

    it could be quite possible that Apple wants to go this way as an insurance policy,

    Who are you trying to kid? Apple wants this to screw their competitors by controlling the chip design many of them rely on.

    because they fear other big stalkers might acquire a company they are increasingly strategically reliant on

    Apple shouldn't project their own rotten behavior and motives onto others.

    in other words our entire tech world is already built around this architecture.

    And that's why Apple cannot be allowed to have it.

  • by yankeessuck (644423) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @02:09PM (#31942832)

    How are App Store restrictions anti-competitive towards other smartphone and music player vendors? If anything that would help them because Apple users have less choice in apps.

  • by rbgaynor (537968) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @02:33PM (#31943286) Homepage
    Exactly. Anti-competitive behavior would be Apple telling App submitters that in order to be approved you must agree not to write apps for other mobile platforms.
  • Antitrust ? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by billcopc (196330) <vrillco@yahoo.com> on Thursday April 22, 2010 @03:15PM (#31944028) Homepage

    Being able to control who gets to use the processors (and, more importantly, who doesn't) would give Apple a huge advantage over its competitors.

    Wouldn't that be considered anti-competitive behaviour, punishable with a massive lawsuit and eight-digit fines ? I mean, I don't want to start any rumours, but I get the funny feeling Google's legal team could kick Apple in the teeth.

  • by bkr1_2k (237627) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @03:16PM (#31944060)

    Prices will never go below a certain level. If the unwashed masses start using Apple products then the aura of smug superiority will vanish.

    Have you looked around? Everyone and their brother has an iPod or iPhone these days. I hate to break it to you, but the "unwashed masses" have been using Apple products for the last couple of years. The only "aura of smug superiority" I've seen about them are the Mac commercials and the attitudes of people here on slashdot.

  • by ergo98 (9391) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @03:54PM (#31944724) Homepage Journal

    Yuk yuk yuk.

    It's "factual" in a purely paper sense. Apple had nothing to do with the creation of ARM the engineering team, the original processors, and so on. As pydev noted, Apple's participation was limited to being an investor when Acorn spun off ARM. It's essentially like saying the US Government invented the Chevy brand because now they are a part owner.

  • Re:Delusional (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jcr (53032) <.jcr. .at. .mac.com.> on Thursday April 22, 2010 @05:57PM (#31946500) Journal

    Alcoa dropped the price of aluminum by something around 80% over the time when it was the only supplier in the United States. Carnegie never actually obtained a monopoly, but he came close by dropping the price of steel rails by over 90%. When a monopoly isn't government-enforced, the only way it can maintain its position is by keeping their prices low enough to deter new competitors from entering the market.

    -jcr

  • by pydev (1683904) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @06:04PM (#31946604)

    I do. Like the fact that Apple marketing, in the span of a few months, switched their rhetoric from "Intel sucks" to "Intel rocks". Funny how that goes.

    PowerPC probably wasn't a good match for Apple. But IBM certainly did nothing deliberate to hurt Apple; IBM was trying hard to make PowerPC go because they depended on it as well. And it's not like other chip manufacturers haven't had bad periods.

    And if Steve Jobs thinks he can manage chip design and manufacturing better than IBM or Intel, he's a fool.

    Apple's PowerPC experience is not a plausible reason for Apple to buy ARM.

  • by caitsith01 (606117) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @07:32PM (#31947966) Journal

    It is not illegal to have a monopoly, it is illegal to abuse that monopoly. Whether Apple gets a monopoly or not in the handset market is not relevant until it looks like the position is being abused [pcworld.com].

    It seems like slashdot is getting fewer and fewer user posts and more and more M$ related astroturf.

    YANAL, and you're wrong.

    It IS relevant before deals get done, and mergers can be blocked in the US, UK, Europe and Australia and no doubt many other places without any "abuse" being demonstrated.

    Here we're talking about one of the major players in the smart phone market acquiring the ability to significantly harm the competitiveness of ALL of the other players by controlling an essential component of smart phones. It would be surprising if that is allowed to happen.

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