A new revolution is brewing in the silicon world. Chipmakers start to dabble in RISC-V, the open source alternative to ARM, which anyone can manufacture and adapt to their needs without paying patents. In its efforts to regain leadership in the industry, semiconductor giant Intel could buy SiFive, the benchmark for this open source hardware platform.
According to Bloomberg, Intel would have offered more than $ 2 billion by SiFive. However, this company, founded in 2015 in San Mateo, California, would also have received proposals from other technology companies. Consequently, and to make the best decision, he would have resorted to external advisers to evaluate the different acquisition offers.
But Intel seems willing to play several cards to take over SiFive and get ahead of other potential buyers. If the purchase offer does not prosper, he could also become an investor and thus get a stake in the company that, according to PitchBook data, was valued at about $ 500 million in 2020.
However, according to the aforementioned financial outlet, the purchase discussions are still at an early stage. This means that there are no guarantees that the agreement will come to fruition. To all this, SiFive may decide to remain independent and find other avenues of collaboration with Intel and other manufacturers.
SiFive has some of what Intel needs to succeed
Interest in RISC-V soared after Nvidia agreed to pay $ 40 billion for ARM Holdings, andl largest provider of intellectual property to the semiconductor industry. This company has maintained a “neutral” position by offering IP licenses to manufacturers such as Qualcomm, Mediatek, Samsung and many others, but now that it is part of the graphics card giant it is believed that the balance could tip.
SiFive is a semiconductor company without a factory, but its potential lies in its solutions based on RISC-V. These include IP cores, SoCs, and development boards. Led by former Qualcomm executive Patrick Little, it is one of the industry’s great promises to take on ARM. This is precisely where Intel’s interest lies.
However, RISC-V still has a long way to go to land on consumer products. But with large players like Intel interested in this architecture, it is likely that within a few years devices with processors based on this type of architecture will arrive.