Qualcomm is ready to compete with Apple M1, according to its CEO. Known for designing chips used in many Android phones or tablets, Qualcomm is eyeing a different market such as laptops. In his first interview since becoming Qualcomm’s president and CEO, Cristiano Amon said he believes Qualcomm may have the best laptop chip on the market. And there’s no one better than a team of software architects who’ve worked on chips before at Apple to design this chip.
A new interview published by Reuters shows a confident Qualcomm looking to grow its business. Although Qualcomm builds the chips that power many Android phones, the company licenses its core plan from chip designer ARM. Now the company is designing its own mobile cores. It is also investing in its own laptop designs, thanks to the $1.4 billion acquisition of Nuvia.
Qualcomm signed the final deal with Nuvia in March. Nuvia was a short-lived startup founded by Gerard Williams, chief designer of iOS chips from the A7 to A12X. After leaving the company, Apple filed a breach of contract lawsuit against Williams, claiming that he violated anti-competitive clauses in his employment contract by establishing Nuvia.
Williams now serves as senior vice president of engineering at Qualcomm, leading the company’s efforts to design its own laptop chips. Amon told Reuters that Qualcomm needs its own in-house chip designs to offer customers to compete with Apple’s M1 chip, which is built using ARM’s core design. A significant part of this will be to apply 5G connectivity to the chip design, which Qualcomm has a lot of experience with.
“We needed to have leading performance for a battery powered device. “If ARM, with whom we have been in a relationship for years, eventually develops a better CPU than we can make ourselves, then we always have the option to license it from ARM.” Reuters says Qualcomm will start distributing Nuvia-based designs next year, but it may take another year before we see them on the market.
Currently, Qualcomm is focused solely on the laptop market. The company has no plans to enter the data center market dominated by Nvidia, AMD and Intel. But Amon says the company is willing to license Nuvia’s designs in its data center.
Qualcomm’s new stance in the market will draw Apple’s attention as the company currently supplies connectivity chips to iPhones. The two companies decided to end a protracted legal battle in 2019, during which it was alleged that not-so-friendly meetings were held between Apple CEO TimeCook and former Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf.