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(Reuters) – Intelligence discussing a possible takeover bid for SiFive, a person familiar with the matter, a company closely associated with open source technology that challenges the rise of Intel rival Arm, told Reuters.
SiFive, a startup based in San Mateo, Calif., Employs several of the creators of RISC-V, an open source chip technology that challenges Arm, the British chip technology to be closed acquired by Nvidia for $ 40 billion. Arm and SiFive sell intellectual property such as chip designs to others who ultimately produce the chips.
Intel and SiFive both declined to comment.
Bloomberg Intel on Thursday expressed Intel’s interest, citing a source saying the Santa Clara, Calif.-Based chipmaker was considering a $ 2 billion bid. Intel, as well as competitors such as Qualcomm, is already an investor in SiFive, which raised $ 61 million in a funding round led by Korean SK Hynix.
SiFive designs computing cores using the RISC-V architecture. Although the underlying architecture of these cores is open source, the specific core designs themselves can be sold.
The purchase of SiFive could give Intel a library of intellectual property that it could use both in its own chips and that it could license to future customers as it strives to build a business in opening its chip factories to third parties. Intel has already announced its intention to license compute cores based on its own proprietary x86 architecture to its customers as part of its contract manufacturing business.
But Intel would also gain a software boost. SiFive is also working to make programming easier on different types of computer chips, and last year hired Chris Lattner, a prominent computer scientist from Silicon Valley.
Lattner spearheaded the creation of the Swift programming language for Apple, which has become the primary means by which developers write apps for iPhone. Most recently, Lattner oversaw the programming language teams for Alphabet’s Google Brain and TensorFlow artificial intelligence teams.
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