back to article Imagination: Apple relations still rotten but, hey, losses have shrunk

Brit chip designer Imagination Technologies has returned to operating profit, in part aided by 350 poor souls – about a fifth of its workforce – that were tossed onto the employment bonfire amid wider cost cutting. The firm had found itself in the middle of a perfect storm what with stalling smartphone and tablet sales, and …

  1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    It is all Apple's Fault

    Imaginations Problems

    Worldwide shortage of Dram

    and everything else under the sun.

    Never mind, they are doomed. Chapter 11 isn't that far away because no one in their right mind would pay $1000 for a phone.

    1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      Re: It is all Apple's Fault

      How would a company based in the UK apply for Chapter 11 protection in the US?

      1. jabuzz

        Re: It is all Apple's Fault

        Because they had some scheme of listing on NASDAQ sometime ago. Not sure if it came off mind you. That was around the time they changed from Videologic to Imagination Technologies.

      2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: It is all Apple's Fault

        Well Captain Scarlet, you had better go back to fighting the Mysterons.

        I was referring to Apple as the title of my post said.

        A few replies got my Tongue in Cheek thoughts.

        Every time apple release something, there are posts here and in other places stating that Apple is doomed. IF they are doomed then Chap 11 is not that far away.

        There have been many reports recently blaming Apple and the forthcoming iPhone for the worldwide shortage of DRAM.

        Then there is the mighty Apple picking on a poor Brit company and driving it into the ground.

        (The Imagination BOD didn't help themselves much though)

        So, yes it is all Apple's fault even if it is not.

        Like the Samsung Note 7 fiasco was all Apple's fault. (according to some commentards)

        1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: It is all Apple's Fault

          When I read your post, I still think your post is stating Imagination current problems are all Apple's fault.

          "Every time apple release something, there are posts here and in other places stating that Apple is doomed" - I correctly used the Troll icon for those posts

          In this case I see it as Apple has got their own chip designers so they have developed their own graphics technology and no longer need Imagination's technology. As long as they haven't just stolen other peoples work I can't see why its Apple's fault (Which hurts me deeply as I hate the Apple brand).

          I personally think more damage has been done Imagination failing to get companies to use their processor designs and patents.

          1. big_D Silver badge

            Re: It is all Apple's Fault

            @Captain Scarlet - the argument is, that they can't do what they want to do without infringing on existing patents, so even if they don't use the existing designs, their new designs will infringe somewhere along the line, requiring royalty payments, which Apple currently argue isn't the case...

            It will be interesting to see how it works out.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: It is all Apple's Fault

              It is probably impossible to design anything as complex as a modern GPU without infringing on others' patents - that includes not just Apple but also Imagination, Intel, AMD and NVidia. No doubt all of their designs infringe on the others to at least some degree. There's a reason why big players often take out cross licensing agreements, because they really can't avoid stepping on each others' toes.

              Now the catch is, infringement has to be proven in court. You can't just say "there's no way Apple could design that GPU without infringing on our patents" and have the court order discovery so you can go on a fishing expedition. They'd have to look at the code in iOS or remove the SoC from an iPhone and experiment on it to figure out how the GPU works to show it infringes on your patent. That's not cheap, easy or fast.

              I think Apple probably has more to worry about from NVidia and AMD than they do from Imagination, simply because those two have a lot more graphics related IP than Imagination does. But since they don't compete directly with Apple they probably don't care enough to bother - it is more of a future risk than something you'd expect right away. Intel would likely lay off unless/until Apple drops x86 in the Mac in favor of using their own SoC designs, if that happens all bets are off.

              If Apple was truly concerned they could buy Imagination and head off any worries about lawsuits from them, and have their own patents to insure cross licensing results from any conflicts with the other three. Buying Imagination seems like cheap insurance to me, but they must feel their legal exposure would be less than the price of buying them outright.

    2. Steve Todd

      Re: It is all Apple's Fault

      @Steve Davies - Its a good job that Apple don't sell any of their models for as much as $1000 then.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It is all Apple's Fault

        I think he's referring to the rumors that the iPhone 8 will sell for $1000.

        Which kind of makes sense - base model is $649, plus model is $749, and up to $200 more for the top memory config. If the 8 is considered a step above the 7S plus and starts at $849, and you add $200 for the top memory config, you're at $1049. Since some people were already paying $949 the last few years, another $100 won't make much difference beyond crossing that $1000 barrier.

        I think the $1000 rumors started because someone assumed that Apple would charge more for the 8 than the 7S plus, and was able to do math...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It is all Apple's Fault

          $1000 dollars? Gosh!

          Is it just me, or is that seriously taking the piss? I mean, if it's just another glass / aluminium clad iPhone one would be asking serious questions about why those materials had so suddenly started costing so much. It's not like the electronic components inside are going to cost any more than usual.

          And apart from sapphire glass (possibly worth it), diamond film (probably overkill), titanium alloys (stiffer hipster-strides bulges), solid gold (utterly pointless, but some like it, it's heading down towards $1200 / oz), I can't think of any material change they could possibly do that would make it worth the money.

          Is it being assembled by expensive MBAs clad in the finest Saville Row suits on £1000 / hour? Is the display's liquid crystal made from the tears of French super models collected after every 13th moon of the year? Does each one come with a certificate signed by George Soros stating that he, personally, has taken time out from making billions to inspect one's very own shiny new iPhone and give it his personal seal of approval?

          Still I suppose it's inevitable. If fewer and fewer people are buying $2000+ laptops, you have to make up the shortfall some other way. Not that Apple really have shortfalls, they simply have slightly less dramatic landslides of other people's cash into their coffers.

      2. big_D Silver badge

        Re: It is all Apple's Fault

        The current price of the iPhone 7 Plus 256GB is $1271 over here (Germany).

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My iPhone gave me anus horribilis

    1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Stock sticking it up your arse; it's not a sex toy.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I have an old Nokia 8860 in a drawer somewhere I could sell him that would be a much easier fit than any of Apple's current line, but it used AMPS so he might have trouble making it vibrate.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Brewster's Angle Grinder .......

        Perhaps to you it's not a sex toy, but for me? If I'm paying close to $1000 for it I want a lot of bang for the buck!

        Thank heavens for the rounded corners.

    2. Mark Exclamation

      You're holding it (in the) wrong (place)!

  3. Camilla Smythe

    I think we should Follow Angela Leadsom's Lead....

    .... Be more patriotic and boycott Apple. That'll show them. I see Mr Gove has already sorted out the fish situation. Maybe we can also tell BMW, or is it AUDI?, where to get off with their car users not knowing how to use indicators and the EU forcing our Great British Workers to fit them anyway. I may have some other ideas in respect of Doner Kebab Containers, the baked flour bit stupids, being converted back to Two Feet and Three Inches. Can't afford a full one... Fuck off down the food bank where you belong. Simples. Oh and if you are not fully invested on AIM and averaged down to the hilt on Wonga... Fuck off back to your own country.

    Angela Leadsom's coming today. Tra La La La La La.

    Angela Leadsom's coming today. Tra La La La La La La.

    Fuck off Corbyn. You are just as shit but I wrote a better song for Angela. Loser. Oh and just in case fuck off Trump. I'm not going to write you a song. Hope someone dumps salt on you when you try to backdoor any entry the UK and it has the desired effect.

    1. m0rt

      Re: I think we should Follow Angela Leadsom's Lead....

      Breathe, dude. Deep breaths.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    From the article:

    "One cloud that still casts a massive shadow over Imagination is the conflict with Apple that pertains to the Mac maker rolling out "unsubstantiated assertions" that it had "designed Imagination out" of its chips and would halt royalty payments in 2018 or early 2019, Imagination said."

    Could get lawyer-ish very quickly. And Apple can afford more lawyers than Imagination. Apple don't even need to win, they can just string it out long enough until Imagination die. Plus there is the difficulty of a non-US firm suing an American firm in the US courts - not likely to win...

    However...

    One thing I don't understand. Apple could have bought Imagination without really noticing the cost (about £1billion judging by data from here). Now they can't - it'd kind of be too obvious that they had set out to manipulate the share price with a cheap acquisition in mind, which is probably illegal. If they offered in excess of a pre Apr 2017 price, that might possibly be a way out of it.

    One way or other Apple are committed to either i) stay with Imagination (which would be swallowing a lot of pride), ii) license someone else's designs (in which case, what was the point?) or iii) really design Imagination out of their chips. That last one could be very difficult to do; there's a ton of patents and IPR related to GPU design already sown up by Imagination and AMD and NVIDIA and ARM. All of them are going to be interested in seeing if Apple are nicking their IPR.

    Apple will have to try really hard to come up with fresh ideas that don't conflict somehow with all of that lot. Even if they manage that, it's going to cost a lot of money to develop their own design, which they cannot afford under any circumstances to cock-up; they need to match their current performance.

    Also what if, for example, SoftBank were to acquire Imagination? They bought ARM, arguably a similar company, and so it's not too far beyond the realms of fantasy. They've got pretty deep pockets and can probably afford to sue Apple quite a lot before the lawyers get worn out. So if Apple's plan now is to out-lawyer Imagination, it might not be Imagination they're taking on. It could get quite expensive in the law courts for Apple, win or lose.

    We'll see what happens, but I fear it won't be an edifying string of events.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'd pay $1000 for an iPhone.

    But I'm a bit of a twat.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: I'd pay $1000 for an iPhone.

      £46/m over a 24 month contract is way more than a grand.

      People are already paying such amounts without blinking.

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