Despite Nvidia’s failed attempt to acquire Arm, CEO Jensen Huang said his company’s plans for the future include doubling down on the number of Arm-based chips as part of the company’s “holy trinity” of computing.
The long-shot deal to buy the U.K.-based developer of semiconductor designs would have benefited Nvidia through a more aggressive roadmap for high-performance computing, Huang said at a virtual press conference Wednesday. But even without it, Nvidia can still benefit from Arm's designs as a licensee to fill out the three pillars of computing Huang sees as the future: graphics processors, central processors and networking chips.
“You know in cooking, almost every culture has their holy trinity, if you will … and in Western cooking, it’s celery, onions, and carrots — it’s the core of just about all soup,” Huang said. “And in computing, we’ve got our three things: the CPU, the GPU and the networking that gives us that foundation to do just about everything."
Huang described Arm as a one-of-a-kind business that took decades to build and that nobody will duplicate, but vowed that Nvidia will thrive in spite of the acquisition’s failure.
“Do we need [Arm] to succeed? Absolutely not,” Huang said. “Would it have been wonderful to own such a thing? The answer is absolutely yes. The reason for that is that because as company owners, you want to own great assets, you want to own great platforms.”
A successful acquisition might have allowed Arm to more aggressively develop its high-performance computing designs, where Nvidia has focused its resources. Huang sees those next opportunities in what he described as AI factories and cloud computing.
Huang also said Wednesday that Nvidia was interested in taking a look at Intel’s contract manufacturing services, and didn’t have concerns about sharing its chip designs with its larger rival. Evaluating and selecting a new contract manufacturer is a lengthy process that requires integrating supply chains and deep discussion, he said.
“We’ve been working closely with Intel, sharing with them our roadmap long before we share it with the public,” Huang said. “For years, Intel has known our secrets. AMD has known our secrets. And we are sophisticated and mature enough to realize that we have to collaborate and work closely with Broadcom, we work closely with Marvell.”