Apple's ongoing use of ImgTec PowerVR GPU IP

Discussion in 'Mobile Graphics Architectures and IP' started by tangey, Apr 3, 2017.

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  1. tangey

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    I don't read it like that, I read new products as meaning "new designs". Otherwise that would mean that in 24 months from today, Apple will not be selling any device that it sells today, which is possible, but not likely. Certainly it would dismiss the 15 month timeframe, I can't see the iphone7 disappearing totally by Aug 2018...or indeed the newly released ipad which is just hitting stores.
     
  2. Entropy

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    Shareholder pep-talk. Apple has been moving in this direction for years, have very close ties with ImgTec, and have been in talks about buying them outright. I think you can safely assume that Apple is VERY aware of ImgTecs IP portfolio. If they say they can go it alone, they can, to the best judgement of their engineers and lawyers.
    Of course, there seems to be a judge in Texas that companies like Rambus and Zenimax turn to in order to have their patent cases tried. Maybe that could be a last resort. But if I were ImgTec, I would have a very open (read:desperate) discussion with Apple about solutions that would be preferable to loosing their business outright.

    Edit: quote from ImgTecs press release:
    "Appleā€™s notification has led Imagination to discuss with Apple potential alternative commercial arrangements for the current license and royalty agreement."
     
    #22 Entropy, Apr 3, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2017
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  3. loekf

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    Point taken. Still surprising a supplier goes public. They really must have been taken by surprise. I wonder though why go public, but probably because 50% of their revenue comes from Apple, so they had to inform their (other) shareholders.

    Oh... if people wonder about Rhys @ Beyond3d... AFAIK, he's not at Apple yet.. since a few weeks he's at "team red" (if I have to believe his Twitter profile).
     
  4. Ailuros

    Ailuros Epsilon plus three
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    Rys mentioned here in the forum in public that's he was to move to AMD. Other than that the only thing I'm personally surprised is that it happened earlier than I expected.
     
  5. shiznit

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    Why would Img release this news and crash it's own stock?
     
  6. nutball

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  7. Entropy

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    To control the messaging.
    Not only does it avoid the potential chaos caused by having snippets of information slowly leaking to employees and the financial markets, it also allows them to present the news alongside a reassurance that they will try to negotiate new terms with Apple, or failing that, might possibly find a legal means to squeeze a bit of money out of them.

    Good move, actually.
    Makes one wish for some more focussed management of the company, than the random diversification they engaged in.

    As I said previously, we just don't know how the chips will fall yet, but good ideas and good people will hopefully continue to do a good job even if it might be under a different corporate label.
     
  8. 3dilettante

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    I've seen the point made elsewhere that something as significant as losing a customer whose business is considered material to the survival of the company would have a serious enough impact to run into shareholder reporting requirements.
    The announcement would tank the stock, but the law takes a dim view of being entrusted with informing shareholders and withholding catastrophic news.

    If that is the case, however, then Apple would also know IMG would be compelled to report this rather quickly.
    I'm not sure if it would look good legally to do this to tank the price for a purchase of IMG, so Apple may have committed to a course that doesn't involve purchasing IMG.

    How exactly that would be done isn't clear yet. A truly non-infringing GPU in this day and age seems improbable. Even a mostly non-infringing or sufficiently non-infringing GPU seems difficult, and the risks are higher since Apple's been entangled with IMG for some time.
    Perhaps the plan is licensing from someone else?
    Apple could plan on gritting its teeth through litigation long enough that IMG implodes, but the outcomes could be highly variable. Many companies that collapse out of becoming practicing entities morph into patent litigation landmines, and someone might buy IMG just to further that.

    One possible side effect of something like this, if Apple's CPU division is an indicator, is that whatever openness we have about the graphics IP from IMG is not going to happen with Apple's internal architecture. The ability to shut down insight into that portion of the SOC and future plans might be one of the reasons for Apple to do this.
     
  9. tangey

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    Stock market requirement to announce news that can have a significant effect on the share price. In the last results Apple was specifically called out as (the only) critical customer to the business.
     
  10. Rufus

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  11. Kaotik

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    edit: This post was moved from another thread, didn't know there was one about this already

    So, ImgTec announced yesterday/today (depending where you live) that Apple has informed them that they're quitting on PowerVR in around 15 - 24 months, and are moving to "independent graphics solution". This cut ImgTec's stock from 270 pences to 100 pences, from where it dropped to low of around 77 pences and now back up to around 100 pences.

    https://www.imgtec.com/news/press-release/discussions-with-apple-regarding-license-agreement/

    With Apple gone they're starting to run low on customers, is there any big profile SoCs using PowerVR anymore other than the A-series from Apple?

    Also, as ImgTec states in the press release, it's hard to design a new gfx architecture without infringing their IP in the process, add NVIDIA and AMD IP to that it's next to impossible to make new gfx architecture without infringing someones IP. The question is - who is Apple going to license their new gfx IP from, are they actually making their own IP or are they going to license from AMD or NVIDIA?
     
    #31 Kaotik, Apr 3, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2017
  12. AzBat

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  13. tangey

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  14. AzBat

    AzBat Agent of the Bat
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    The point is Apple have IP & patents. Just because you don't know of them doesn't mean they have to license somebody else's tech.

    Tommy McClain
     
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  15. pipo

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  16. eastmen

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    think imgtech will move back into the pc arena ? would be great to have a third company competing
     
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  17. Ailuros

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    Then there should have never been any reason for Apple to license third party GPU IP in the first place. In that sense Apple HAD to license somebody else's IP for the past decade.

    That said I doubt Apple would mind getting sued by more than one graphics IHV out there as long as they can have what they imagined.
     
  18. sebbbi

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    My guess: ImgTech :)

    Apple likely wants all ImgTech GPU patents. Metal on iOS exposes ImgTech TBDR features and all the games use PVRTC compression. It would be hard to make compatible hardware without violating any of the IP.

    What's a better way to get the IP for cheap than crashing IMG stock price and buying the stock while it is cheap? The stock is already recovering... who is buying it?

    But Apple isn't the only SOC manufacturer who might want to get into GPU business. Samsung for example doesn't have their own GPU IP. They have used IMG products in some of their SOCs in the past. Are they happy to license ARM Mali GPUs? Samsung has been long time ARM Cortex CPU customer, in last year they announced their own Mongoose CPU. Clearly they aren't 100% happy with non-custom ARM designs.
     
    #38 sebbbi, Apr 4, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2017
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  19. Entropy

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    Or rather than buying stock, purchase across the board IP rights, providing ImgTec with a parachute, and providing litigation insurance for Apple.
    That said, I doubt they need it. If Apple engineers and IP lawyers say they are in the green, then the odds aren't in favour of anyone trying to prove infringement and damages. They could easily (much easier than this path!) just have gone on licensing IP if there was any doubt.
     
  20. sebbbi

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    That's another plausible alternative. Get the IPC rights for a more "reasonable" price because ImgTech is struggling and needs the money. Dirty move in any case.
     
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