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UK-based chipmaker ARM tells staff to stop working with Huawei

ARM, a UK-based company may be affected by the US' Huawei ban.

UK-based chipmaker ARM tells staff to stop working with Huawei

UK-based chipmaker ARM tells staff to stop working with Huawei

The UK-based chipmaker ARM has reportedly told its staff to suspend all business with Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications giant, with internal company memos allegedly stating that its designs contain "US origin technology", suggesting that the Trump administration's business ban is impacting non-US companies.  

In documents that have been uncovered by the BBC, ARM staff have been told to halt "all active contracts, support entitlements, and any pending engagements" with Huawei or its subsidiaries, a move which will cripple the company. Huawei can utilise open source operating systems on their future technologies, but their smartphone empire relies entirely on ARM-based silicon. 

HiSilicon, the creator of the Kirin series of SoCs that Huawei utilises, is a Huawei subsidiary, which means that they may soon lose ARM's support. This will prevent the company from creating new ARM-based chip designs, something which Huawei is unlikely to be prepared for. Analysts have called this an "insurmountable" blow to Huawei's business.     

ARM is not a manufacturer of processors, but their CPU IP currently sits at the core of most mobile devices, holding a dominant market share within the smartphone and tablet markets. Creating smartphones without ARM's IP is practically impossible, making ARM's suspended business ties with Huawei devastating. 

In a statement to the BBC, ARM stated that they were "complying with all of the latest regulations set forth by the US government", while Huawei refused to comment.  

UK-based chipmaker ARM tells staff to stop working with Huawei  

Whether or not ARM's actions are a short term or long term remains to be seen, but if ARM chips can be no longer used in Huawei devices, the company's smartphone ambitions are effectively finished. The long and short of the situation is that Huawei isn't ready to replace the ARM-based processors used by their handsets. Even devices outside of the mobile phone market utilise ARM IP, placing Huawei in an incredibly dangerous situation. 

While HiSilicon and Huawei can continue manufacturing their existing ARM-based designs, both companies will not be able to produce new designs that are based on ARM's IP. It won't be easy for Huawei to replace these ARM-based components with in-house designs. 

You can join the discussion on ARM ceasing its work with Huawei on the OC3D Forums

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Most Recent Comments

22-05-2019, 06:36:09

tgrech
I wouldn't say finished, but definitely heavily delayed. Lets not forget many of the academics & employees who pioneered ARM are now tantalisingly close(Final designs this year) to completing the first full RISC-V SoC, a fully open source, high security, high speed complete multimedia SoC for low cost computing devices and smartphones, from the non-profit lowRISC. It is likely that the raspberry Pi, which is pioneered by many of the same people, will switch to lowRISC now they've firmly ended this extended generation of Pi devices. (China already has a large RISC-V consortium due to the risks of proprietary architectures and HiSilicon have shown increasing interest).

Always worth remembering that major technological progress has to come through cooperation(Modern tech is too complex for any single entity to have created entirely themselves, SoC design work is like building a major city from sand and clay, no single civil engineering entity could carry out such a feat), which more or less guarantees it comes from academia or non-profits. Private companies goals are almost always to convert these technologies into a monetizable form and fully packaged product, or to modify them for further commercial appeal, not to create them (With "cutting edge" tech that is), so there's only so much "knocking down" that can be done when it comes to IP.Quote

22-05-2019, 08:10:03

meuvoy
Quote:
Originally Posted by tgrech View Post
I wouldn't say finished, but definitely heavily delayed. Lets not forget many of the academics & employees who pioneered ARM are now tantalisingly close(Final designs this year) to completing the first full RISC-V SoC, a fully open source, high security, high speed complete multimedia SoC for low cost computing devices and smartphones, from the non-profit lowRISC. It is likely that the raspberry Pi, which is pioneered by many of the same people, will switch to lowRISC now they've firmly ended this extended generation of Pi devices. (China already has a large RISC-V consortium due to the risks of proprietary architectures and HiSilicon have shown increasing interest).
I wouldn't go so far to say they will quickly replace ARM with RISC V while achieving similar performance.

They will most likely die beforce they can even launch a single RISCV powered smartphone and even if they manage to get it working so fast I doubt they will be able to reach modern ARM speeds or efficiency. It should take years untill RISCV can really compete with ARM in the consumer market if it ever will. No I'd say RSCV is one of the most important if not the most important processor architecture for small devices that operate under a fixed firmware like routers, AV receivers/processors, DSPs, controllers, etc. those don't need a lot of speed but they do need to be cheap and not having to pay licensing fees, royalties or wathever should greatly reduce costs of those devices.

Don't forget there's no such operating system designed to work with RISC-V yet. They need to sort this out if they want to make something like a smartphone or a tablet.Quote

22-05-2019, 08:16:26

tgrech
Quote:
Originally Posted by meuvoy View Post
Don't forget there's no such operating system designed to work with RISC-V yet. They need to sort this out if they want to make something like a smartphone or a tablet.
Debian works with RISC-V.... Over 85% or 20,000 packages are already ported. Lots of other Linux OS ports coming thick and fast too. RISC-V software wise is already better supported than a whole swath of other architectures (Grey line).
https://buildd.debian.org/stats/graph-ports-week.png

For sure this won't be winning performance crowns for a long time, but it will work(Eventually), which is what they need to survive in their key markets. Necessity is the mother of invention though, and until now there was no necessity to avoid ARMdroid.Quote
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