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Apple To Buy ARM? 695

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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  • by mmkkbb ( 816035 ) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @09:19AM (#31938082) Homepage Journal

    A leg is about 20% of your body mass, so...

    • by teh31337one ( 1590023 ) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @09:30AM (#31938252)
      This will be an Antitrust goldmine. And people say Microsoft are evil. Urgh.
      • by epdp14 ( 1318641 ) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @09:41AM (#31938414) Homepage
        No kidding. If Microsoft can get pounded for pushing IE too hard, can you imagine the fallout from Apple telling Palm (or an Android manufacturer), "Oh, you were going to put these in a phone?!?! The phones name doesn't start with 'i'? That'll be $(Original price * sqrt(Steve Jobs current mojo level expressed in number of 1/2 liter units))
        • by WrongSizeGlass ( 838941 ) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @10:15AM (#31939014)
          I doubt Apple would want to buy ARM and then kill the sales to ARM's other customers. If they're going to spend $8 billion just to piss it away by killing ARM's revenue they'd be better served by spending the money to subsidize iPhone sales by cutting the price.

          Even as a Mac & iPhone user I don't want Apple to acquire ARM. It could set back the competition considerably while they move to new chips or architectures ... and competition is what drives all the device makers to improve their products. Without someone to chase and/or breathing down their neck Apple won't be driven to make advances in their products at the pace they should.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 22, 2010 @09:42AM (#31938420)

        ARM was founded by Apple and Acorn (of BBC Micro fame). During the 90s when Apple was in danger of going bust it sold off its stake in ARM. Now that Apple has a few quid in the bank, it wants ARM back. Assuming the rumours are true. Anyway, it's not so strange.

        • 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 Ion Berkley ( 35404 ) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @11:49AM (#31940464)

            Its a quite accurate statement to say Apple is a founder. ARM originally stood for "Acorn RISC machine" and was developed internally at Acorn. When ARM was incorporated as an independent entity it was done so with Acorn and Apple as 40% owners and VLSI technology (at that time the sole manufacturer) as a 20% owner. At that time the name was changes to "Advanced RISC Machines". Apple had more than Newton in the big picture at that time including laser printers. The ARM610 was indeed developed specifically for the Newton, with a special MMU by ARM as one of its earliest projects. ARM cpu's (in many case multiple ones) are in every cellular handset I'm aware of in the last decade not just smartphones. ARM cpu's are being used by most of the next wave of startup companies in low power server design..look at Smoothstone for an example. And of course they are making serious inroads in Netbook design, both NVIDIA's Tegra and Qualcomm's Snapdragon are giving Intel plenty sleepless nights right now. The last ARM design I did put an ARM7n in every electricity other words our entire tech world is already built around this architecture.

            The royalties on the older designs are tiny and not going to be affected by an acquisition, don't expect any significant cost changes to be noticeable at retail even if it were possible to renegotiate the royalty schedules. After some stagnation in the last decade where ARM struggled to break out of the the low cost embedded space the company is suddenly looking strong again and it could be quite possible that Apple wants to go this way as an insurance policy, because they fear other big stalkers might acquire a company they are increasingly strategically reliant on.

            • 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 sznupi ( 719324 ) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @09:53AM (#31938574) Homepage

        Well, Microsoft are evil.

        That said, the summary has gross'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.

        • 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 nine-times ( 778537 ) <> 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 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 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...

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by nine-times ( 778537 )
          Sorry, but the 1990s were the absolute wrong time to be an Apple fan. That's when they sucked.
      • 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 WebCowboy ( 196209 ) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @10:38AM (#31939354)

        As has been stated before, Apple has had a relationship with ARM holdings since it was founded (as Apple had equity in the company when it was founded out of the ashes of the Acorn computer company). Apple didn't abuse its position then. Of course, Apple wasn't so big and successful at the time, whereas now it dominates in mobile media players and holds a great deal of market share with the iPhone.

        Here is an interesting thing though...history seems to be repeating itself, just with different players. In the 1970s MOS technologies created the 6500 series of microprocessors--the 6502 being the famous, very long lived design. They had a fab and produced their own designs but also ended up licensing the design out to others (the two biggest being Rockwell International and Western Design Center, the latter was founded by a former MOS employee who held a patent on part of the 6502 design that entitled him to a license). Just as the 6502 started taking off in the desktop calculator market Texas Instruments went and started making calculators too--using their own chips that suddenly became much more expensive for third parties.

        Jack Tramiel at Commodore was facing possible extinction of his entire electronics line because of the TI-induced shakeout (Older folks, especially from Canada, might remember Commodore as a maker of typewriters and filing cabinets and calulators). Pretty much all calculator makers who used TI chips suddenly found it impossible to compete with TI and those who couldn't re-engineer their designs quickly or rely on other products quickly died (MITS probably wouldn't have been pushed to do the Altair if it hadn't been pushed out of the calculator market by TI). Jack didn't want to fall victim to a bullying chip maker and figured to compete Commodore had to make its own chips like TI, so Commodore bought MOS technology.

        Here is an interesting fact: Commodore continued licensing to Rockwell and WDC, and continued to make and sell chips openly on the market, including to direct competitors in the personal computer market. Every single Apple I and Apple II and 8-bit Atari (from the 2600 game up to the 130XE computer) and 8-bit Acorn/BBC Micro was built around a chip design controlled ny Commodore (and maybe even manufactured in their fab). Though Commodore made for a very tough competitor, there is no evidence they overtly abused their position as a chip supplier to dominate the market and in fact Apple and Atari both outlived Commodore. So, it is possible that with Apple owning ARM this scenario could happen again.

        So how will history repeat itself? Apple cannot ever revoke current licensees rights to use their current designs, but they could "pull a TI" (even against TI ironically) and either make it very expensive to continue licensing or could refuce to renew, meaning competitors/third-parties could not make NEW ARM-based chips. Alternatively, they could go the "Commodore way" and maintain ARM as a separate (though wholly owned) company that keeps operating as normal, and all our Android phones would be safe.

        Of course, Jobs runs the show and being the techno-Nazi that he is might be tempted to go for world domination/industry control by cutting android hardware sales off at the knees. However he is still pretty smart and knows that would be a very bad idea. Consider:

        * ARM designs are used EVERYWHERE. Industrial processors, embedded computer systems and so on where Apple doesn't compete--in fact the majority of ARMs revenue relies on non-mobile/wireless business. They'd lose more than they'd gain by shutting out those licensees.

        * If they were overtly selective in suppliying chips or licensing their IP to others then they'd face the wrath of antitrust regulators that are much more aware and active in high-tech now.

        * They could cut out Android or WinMo hardware makers but both those platforms can be ported quite easily to other hardware. In fact those platforms already run on non-ARM platofrms. Apple could run roughshod over HTC but it

      • 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.

  • Google (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Spad ( 470073 ) <slashdot@spad.[ ]uk ['co.' in gap]> 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?

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

    by will.perdikakis ( 1074743 ) * on Thursday April 22, 2010 @09:25AM (#31938158)
    ARM is one of the better generic processors for embedded and small systems. Apple purchasing them may (read: will) limit the usage of ARM or price them out of the market.

    As much as I appreciate what Apple is doing with mobile computing, a move like this (assuming they change the current state of ARM) is going to affect the industry (even markets that do not directly compete with Apple) in a non-positive way.

    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.
    • 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 [] 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 []. The whole article is just baseless speculation by people whose sole purpose in life is to drive page views while having the title "analyst".

  • Ahem (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ancient_Hacker ( 751168 ) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @09:25AM (#31938162)

    That should be "its" competitors. And it's unlikely they'd flex their muscles much in the direction of stifling the companies that use the ARM design.
    More likely: Apple wants to extend ARM in directions that the current ARM management is balking at.

  • 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.
  • ARM Holdings is just the licensing part of the processor design. Many companies actually manufacture chips based on the ARM designs, (which is part of the reason they are so cheap)

    Other than being able to steer the technology, I'm not sure what apple would be able to do? BTW submitter, there are many more ARM processors out there than just what are in Ipods and android phones. Think Embedded devices.

    • 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.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Tom ( 822 )

        And obviously you think that everyone who licensed the design is a stupid idiot who never went to law or business school, and would sign a licensing deal that can be revoked for no reason at any time.

        The real business world is a little more complicated than that.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Culture20 ( 968837 )
          Apple will probably have to pay large sums to end the licensing contracts, but that may be worth it to harm competitors. Even if they can't do that, they would be able to not-license any newly developed processors.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      Apple doesn't seem to mind fucking it's existing customers over for personal reasons, I doubt they'll hold back against competitors like Google and others.

      Dear god I hope this falls though.

    • ARM Holdings is just the licensing part of the processor design. Many companies actually manufacture chips based on the ARM designs, (which is part of the reason they are so cheap)

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

      Revoke the licenses.

  • 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.

    • 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.

  • 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).

  • 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.

    I would imagine that various trade organizations would monitor that sort of thing very, very, very closely.

  • Am I the only one... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by vikingpower ( 768921 ) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @09:35AM (#31938330) Homepage Journal
    ..who thinks that is short-sighted from Apple ? Apple has, since its very beginnings, been about two things: computers, i.e. finished computers - and software. In the long run, buying Arm is a beginning of turning Apple into a conglomerate. And conglomerates are not only unwieldy and difficult to manage - they don't survive for very long.
    • 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.

  • Qualcomm, now Apple (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 22, 2010 @09:41AM (#31938418)

    Last week there was a rumor that Qualcomm was going to buy ARM. Now there's speculation about Apple.

    It's possible that Steve Jobs took the Qualcomm rumors seriously, and bid for ARM just to make sure that Qualcomm didn't end up buying the company. []

  • 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 Dancindan84 ( 1056246 ) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @10:30AM (#31939248)
    Was Google already aware of this? They bought a small processor company Tuesday []. Would make sense if they wanted to make sure manufacturers of their phones didn't suddenly end up without access to processors.
  • by kabloom ( 755503 ) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @02:53PM (#31943698) Homepage

    Why would they want to do that if we all know that Apple's iPad is based on a Dual-core Power chip []?

  • Antitrust ? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by billcopc ( 196330 ) <> 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 SEE ( 7681 ) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @05:49PM (#31946374) Homepage

    There are three ways to license ARM IP:

    Perpetual (Implementation) License
    The perpetual license offers an ARM Partner the necessary rights to perpetually design and manufacture ARM technology-based products.

    Term License
    This license is suitable for a Partner who wishes to design a number of ARM technology-based products within a specified time-frame (usually three years). The manufacturing rights are perpetual.

    Per Use License
    The Per Use license is available on selected ARM IP and gives an ARM Partner the right to design a single ARM technology-based product within a specified time-frame (usually three years). The manufacturing rights are perpetual.

    Notice that all three allow perpetual manufacture. Further, there are plenty of companies with the perpetual (implementation) license. So there is no way in the short or medium term an Apple takeover could seriously threaten current device-makers. In the long term, maybe the ARM available to people other than Apple would stagnate, but the long term is plenty of time to switch to, say, a new mobile device-optimized version of the current embedded PowerPC chips.

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