back to article Imagination puts two-thirds of itself up for sale as Apple IP fight rumbles on

Chip designer Imagination Technologies has opened a formal dispute resolution procedure with Apple after the iPhone giant decided to stop using its intellectual property. Reuters reported this morning that Imagination said it had started the procedure, which is enshrined in the contract between the two companies. Last month …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    might makes right in this late capitalism era

    Sadly for most of my work career working for smaller outfits I have had a front row seat to how the big boys take advantage of the small fry. In fact I dare say a not insignificant portion of the S&P 100 or so growth comes at the expense of "partners" and suppliers. Nice to finally work for a decent size company that behaves more like a small company personnel wise and is big enough to not to be subject to this crap (no one customer accounting for more than 3% of sales was one reason originally came to work for them) but not so big (yet) it pulls it. Apple didn't get to be the biggest company in the world market cap wise spreading the wealth. A decent number of small companies are pretty much willing to literally give Apple money to say they have them as a customer. Beware the shop that bends over backwards for their one behemoth customer.

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: might makes right in this late capitalism era

      How is Apple "taking advantage" of Imagination? Should they be required to use their GPUs forever in order to keep Imagination in business? They gave them plenty of notice when they'd stop using their GPUs - presumably notice as dictated in a contract.

      The only possible dispute is whether Apple's in-house GPU design will infringe on Imagination patents, and if so to what extent. Since Apple's design isn't even complete yet Imagination is trying to get them to pay up based on guesswork. I think the real plan for Imagination is to divest the stop Apple doesn't want, and make them think buying them out is cheaper than potential litigation.

      Given their turnover and profit from the GPU segment, losing over half their business will put it deeply in the red so they obviously can't continue in that business without major cutbacks. That's too bad, but it is hardly Apple's fault Imagination was so heavily dependent on them. A lot of Android SoCs started using Mali in the last couple years, if Imagination had done a better job competing with ARM they could have won those customers and the loss of Apple would be only be a blow, not a death blow.

  2. Nick Kew

    Whither MIPS?

    I thought it looked interesting when they bought MIPS. Breathe life back into it? Perhaps even create something more like a real competitor to ARM and x86? Alas, 'twas but a dream.

    I imagine the competition authorities would be unhappy if Intel or Softbank tried to bid for MIPS. Might anyone else take an interest? Like IBM, Oracle, Google, ... or private equity? From memory, the patent portfolio was bought out by a consortium including ARM, so any patent threat should be minimal.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Whither MIPS?

      Competition is good but it's difficult to see much of a market for MIPS in the beefier part of the embedded world because it has too little to differentiate it from ARM.

      In a sense, Imagination built a rod for their own back by suggesting they would go after ARM's business, which just spurred ARM to developed its own GPU cores and made Imagination even more dependent upon Apple.

    2. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Re: Whither MIPS?

      It was never going to happen. For reasons I still don't fully understand, people get wedded to instruction sets. And, as AMD will attest, you can struggle to achieve market share even when you're pumping out an instruction set people want. I could see Imagination's thinking---the merging of GPUs and CPUs---but the market for a MIPs processors is tiny.

      As for who'll buy it: nobody you've heard of for not very much.

  3. druck Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Cash4Lawyers

    Well the sales of the units will generate cash, to piss away on lawyers to fight apple. A pissing content they won't win, no matter what the merits of the case are.

  4. Gene Cash Silver badge

    "About half of Imagination’s annual revenues depend on income from Apple."

    As Adam Savage would say, "THERE'S YER PROBLEM!"

    When you put yourself in the position that one customer dictates your life, you're already screwed. This is not much different than the sapphire glass dustup.

    They're complete morons that deserve to be selling pencils out of a cup on a street corner.

    1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      How exactly would you have solved that? Told Apple to piss off? Or, at least, refused to supply them with as many licences as they wanted? Or would you have magically drummed up demand that didn't exist?

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