Wednesday, May 22nd 2019

ARM Revokes Huawei's Chip IP Licence

As the trade war between the US and China continues to unfold, we are seeing major US companies ban or stop providing service to China's technology giant Huawei. Now, it looks like the trade war has crossed the ocean and reached the UK. This time, UK based ARM Holdings, the provider of mobile chip IP for nearly all smartphones and tablets, has revoked the license it has given Huawei.

According to the BBC, ARM Holdings employees were instructed to suspend all interactions with Huawei, and to send a note informing Huawei that "due to an unfortunate situation, they were not allowed to provide support, deliver technology (whether software, code, or other updates), engage in technical discussions, or otherwise discuss technical matters with Huawei, HiSilicon or any of the other named entities." The news came from an internal ARM document the BBC has obtained.
So, what does this mean?

For starters, let's elaborate a bit on what exactly ARM's business is, and what connections they have with Huawei. ARM is the license provider of the ARM processor IP, which is used in all CPUs that are built around the ARM instruction set architecture. That means that whenever a microchip is designed using the ARM ISA, in order to be commercially sold, ARM needs to approve it. Those approvals are of course followed by a fixed fee the licensee is paying. How does that affect Huawei you might ask. A lot, actually. ARM is found in every chip Huawei designs and sells. Huawei's subsidiary, HiSilicon actually designs the chips, but that makes no difference. There exists a company called "ARM-China" but it has terminated the contract with Huawei as well.

The big questions now is, whether this termination affects existing devices sitting on retailer shelves, existing processors sitting in warehouses, chips currently being fabricated, or only future chip designs. In the worst case it could mean that Huawei is facing an immediate sales ban of all their phones or tablets using ARM processors, which will be a huge deal for the company.

What I think will happen in the short-term, is that they will most likely try to outsource chip manufacturing to someone with a license, like MediaTek (China) or Samsung (Korea), or adopt another industry standard ISA. A good candidate for that would be RISC-V, which is a (relatively) new and open architecture that requires no licensing. Having seen huge growth in China for all kinds of applications, from AI to IoT, RISC-V would be a logical decision, especially since the architecture is royalty-free.

But there is a problem. Currently, all of Huawei's efforts have been focused on Android, which is basically tailor-made for ARM chips. Android, mind you, is running on top of Linux, which has been ported to various other architectures in the past. The Linux kernel itself already supports RISC-V, and is available in distributions like Debian, Fedora, FreeBSD and NetBSD, so there exists a possibility that Huawei will build its new software and hardware stack on top of those. Source: BBC
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88 Comments on ARM Revokes Huawei's Chip IP Licence

#2
Gasaraki
That's unexpected. I wonder why they followed the US ban. Huawei had it set because they didn't use much US tech in their phones except for Micron memory in some but they had other vendors for memory so no big deal. With this license revocation, they wouldn't even be to make their own Kirin CPU .
Posted on Reply
#3
R-T-B
Loongson in smartphone, here we come. AFAIK that's MIPS and android still works on MIPS.
Posted on Reply
#4
lexluthermiester
R-T-B, post: 4052333, member: 41983"
Loongson in smartphone, here we come. AFAIK that's MIPS and android still works on MIPS.
Might work. However, this seems like another nail in the coffin..
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#5
Error
This is starting to look like a conspiracy. The UK is not the US, and AFAIK Huawei haven't infringed on ARM's IP ...
Posted on Reply
#6
lexluthermiester
Error, post: 4052360, member: 71717"
This is starting to look like a conspiracy. The UK is not the US, and AFAIK Huawei haven't infringed on ARM's IP ...
You seem to misunderstand the situation...
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#7
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
I can't think of any direct causality between US legal action and ARM's decision so I assume ARM simply doesn't want anything to do with the sinking ship that is Huawei.
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#8
R0H1T
Error, post: 4052360, member: 71717"
This is starting to look like a conspiracy. The UK is not the US, and AFAIK Huawei haven't infringed on ARM's IP ...
ARM is owned by a Japanese firm & Huawei licenses anything & virtually everything from them. Yes it is a part of the trade war but you don't go to war with empty shells.
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#9
W1zzard
Gasaraki, post: 4052309, member: 168493"
That's unexpected. I wonder why they followed the US ban.
I could imagine they're simply worried that they might get labeled "enemy of the US"
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#11
Divide Overflow
W1zzard, post: 4052368, member: 1"
I could imagine they're simply worried that they might get labeled "enemy of the US"
Or they simply have the same trade, security and IP trademark concerns with Huawei / China that the US does.
Posted on Reply
#12
dorsetknob
"YOUR RMA REQUEST IS CON-REFUSED"
ARM is stuck between a rock and a whitehouse place.
Toe the US Line or Suffer the consequences.
you have to Reconcile ARM has Business links to all Major US Corporations and Shareholders.

Think of this what if He who shall not be named tweets
"I think our (US) Patent Office should revoke all ARM Patents"
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#13
biffzinker
Turns out ARM does have to be in compliance with the ban. ARM has two chip development centers here in the US. One in San Jose, CA and the other is Austin, TX
Posted on Reply
#14
Renald
China is going to cut down ressources in raw materials such rare earths, which they own @70% with full access in Mongolia to the biggest spot in the world, or in distant Africa, which they own (they bought the lands).

So companies as manufacturing chips or any battery consumming product is going to be impacted. And Japan will not be spared.
Enjoy your +300% price in the next few month.
Posted on Reply
#15
Vayra86
Error, post: 4052360, member: 71717"
This is starting to look like a conspiracy. The UK is not the US, and AFAIK Huawei haven't infringed on ARM's IP ...
This action originates from Five Eyes.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_Eyes
Posted on Reply
#16
R-T-B
lexluthermiester, post: 4052353, member: 134537"
Might work. However, this seems like another nail in the coffin..
It will certainly deeply wound them. Not certain it will kill them however.
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#17
dorsetknob
"YOUR RMA REQUEST IS CON-REFUSED"
Renald, post: 4052394, member: 130756"
China is going to cut down ressources in raw materials such rare earths, which they own @70% with full access in Mongolia to the biggest spot in the world,
PEOPLE seem to think Rare Earths are indeed Rare.
They are not in fact they are Pretty Commom often thrown away in the processing of other Minerals.

They are however Expensive to Refine into a usable Resource
Ecologically the refining is Highly Toxic to the environment
China care's little about the Ecologically and the refining is Highly Toxic to the environment if not done with precision
Cost of Refining ( in consideration to the environment) is what stops the rest of the world from competing with China

Previous attempts by china to fix price and availability of "Rare Earth MINERALS" Have made countrys like Japan and the US explore for other sources
Undersea mining (Japan) Reopen old mine working (mineral price rise may again make them Economic again).
Posted on Reply
#18
Renald
dorsetknob, post: 4052424, member: 8331"
PEOPLE seem to think Rare Earths are indeed Rare.
They are not in fact they are Pretty Commom often thrown away in the processing of other Minerals.

They are however Expensive to Refine into a usable Resource
Ecologically the refining is Highly Toxic to the environment
China care's little about the Ecologically and the refining is Highly Toxic to the environment if not done with precision
Cost of Refining ( in consideration to the environment) is what stops the rest of the world from competing with China

Previous attempts by china to fix price and availability of "Rare Earth MINERALS" Have made countrys like Japan and the US explore for other sources
Undersea mining (Japan) Reopen old mine working (mineral price rise may again make them Economic again).
I never said that rare earths were rare, just that China holds most of actual mines in the world (with Brazil if I remember well). Rare earth is just is just a category of elements in the periodic table. That's all.
Sure Japan have mines underwater, but retrieving the mud from 6000m underwater is not that efficient compared to open-sky mines they have in north-china and Mongolia.

And you "store" rare earth that easily. If China decide to cut supply, it's going to be a huge mess.


And for next time :
You just didn't read and take the opportunity to lecture somebody because you think you're smarter than everybody else. Rare earths are called rare earths. Try to find where I said it was rare.
Posted on Reply
#19
Aqeel Shahzad
Ok now the question is what other alternate does the chinese giant left with if ARM has done this ?
Posted on Reply
#20
dorsetknob
"YOUR RMA REQUEST IS CON-REFUSED"
China Currently Controls Most of the mines Producing Rare Earth Minerals at the moment yes
and like i said if they try to ransom the supply they risk country's accessing other Rescorces.
That may be Undersea mining
it may be the re opening of mines ( that would then be Profitable ). EPA basicly made the most profitable US mine Close as they could not compete with unregulated Chinese mining.
New mine's in Places like Afghanistan ( Supposed to have massive reserves).
Mining in Space (Asteroid's ect).
If the world is denied access ot the Current chinese product they will Source elsewhere and China loses another Revenue Source as well as further Taraffs imposed.
Posted on Reply
#21
Vya Domus
This gets more and more bizarre with each passing day. I find it hard to believe this trade ban would reach out this far to ARM. Sure they have their Austin Texas center which usually produces the high performance parts like the A7X core IP and you can say that's US bound but what about the rest ? The low power stuff like the A5X core IP usually comes out of places like Cambridge/Budapest .

Aqeel Shahzad, post: 4052437, member: 162480"
Ok now the question is what other alternate does the chinese giant left with if ARM has done this ?
Nothing as far as I am concerned, even Apple that make their own custom cores still need the custom license from ARM for the ISA compatiblity. It's too much of a hurdle for Huawei to start making their own microarhitecure/ISA and their own software, they're without question dead.
Posted on Reply
#22
Sitohas Wang
dorsetknob, post: 4052424, member: 8331"
PEOPLE seem to think Rare Earths are indeed Rare.
They are not in fact they are Pretty Commom often thrown away in the processing of other Minerals.

They are however Expensive to Refine into a usable Resource
Ecologically the refining is Highly Toxic to the environment
China care's little about the Ecologically and the refining is Highly Toxic to the environment if not done with precision
Cost of Refining ( in consideration to the environment) is what stops the rest of the world from competing with China

Previous attempts by china to fix price and availability of "Rare Earth MINERALS" Have made countrys like Japan and the US explore for other sources
Undersea mining (Japan) Reopen old mine working (mineral price rise may again make them Economic again).
Can't agree more, CCP act more like a colony in China as they totally care less about the future environment inside China, they just earn money and move their relatives to the developed country.
Posted on Reply
#23
Dante Uchiha
Microsoft creates a criminal monopoly, obliges to use the problematic software (W10) and still steals our data. Facebook does the same... And no one goes to war.

But when Huawei supposedly collects data the end of the world begins... great.
Posted on Reply
#24
Aqeel Shahzad
dorsetknob, post: 4052446, member: 8331"
China Currently Controls Most of the mines Producing Rare Earth Minerals at the moment yes
and like i said if they try to ransom the supply they risk country's accessing other Rescorces.
That may be Undersea mining
it may be the re opening of mines ( that would then be Profitable ). EPA basicly made the most profitable US mine Close as they could not compete with unregulated Chinese mining.
New mine's in Places like Afghanistan ( Supposed to have massive reserves).
Mining in Space (Asteroid's ect).
If the world is denied access ot the Current chinese product they will Source elsewhere and China loses another Revenue Source as well as further Taraffs imposed.
Correction towards Afghanistan.

You should search for CPEC as well.

Dante Uchiha, post: 4052508, member: 161713"
Microsoft creates a criminal monopoly, obliges to use the problematic software (W10) and still steals our data. Facebook does the same... And no one goes to war.

But when Huawei supposedly collects data the end of the world begins... great.
So far nothing has been proven on huawei’s side...that it is or was a threat
Posted on Reply
#25
FreedomEclipse
~Technological Technocrat~
Patriot, post: 4052373, member: 77367"
UK has had issue with Huawei's security practices dating back to 2010.
https://www.fiercewireless.com/wireless/uk-says-huawei-equipment-has-major-security-flaws

And are currently barring them from core 5g networks.
https://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2019/04/government-bans-huawei-kit-from-core-uk-5g-mobile-networks.html

ARM is unsurprisingly distancing themselves from them.
The irony about this here is about around a year ago, the UK Government were ready to green light plans for China to build a nuclear power station here in the UK for us that probably would of been powerful enough to run a quarter of the UK. Obviously security issues were considered and re-considered and the construction never went ahead but the fact that they even considered it was a laughable one. Its as silly as inviting Russia in to build our Nuclear Submarines.



But yes -- ARM is owned by a big Japanese conglomerate that owns 100% of ARM, Boston Dynamics, Fortress Investment Group and 87.1% stake in Brightstar Corporation -- all of which are American companies. Im guessing that SoftBank Group (The parent company/owners) had to act due to pressure from US Politicians.


Another thing which is also kinda ironic is that EPIC Games is part owned by a big chinese company which has ties to the chinese government but somehow they arent a security risk at all. While telecommunications is of course more important than some software you can install on your PC. It could still become a threat if Tencent buys a bigger stake in the company and start having their own people write the software for the launcher so they could put in all sorts of spyware and backdoors etc etc and its funny because a lot of people play fortenight. All Tencent would have to do is release an update for a launch and of a sudden they can turn every computer on the network into a zombie node

-- It sounds like a hollywood movie i know but you cant rule out that it wont happen since cyber attacks these days are a thing of the future.
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