Arm will drop Internet of Things businesses to focus on its core chip tech

Arm booth logo MWC 2019

Credit: Robert Triggs / Android Authority

  • The chip design giant is transferring two IoT groups to SoftBank.
  • It believes it’s better off focusing on core chip designs for phones and computers.
  • The handover should be finished by September 2020.

Arm may have painted a bright future for Internet of Things devices just months ago, but it won’t have much involvement in that future.

The chip designer has proposed transferring two of its IoT divisions, including the key platform business, to new entities run by Japanese tech giant SoftBank. The move would let Arm “deepen its focus� on core chip technologies like its Cortex designs, according to the company, putting it in a “stronger position to innovate.�

For SoftBank, meanwhile, the arrangement would be a chance to make the most out of the “symbiotic growth of data and compute.� Arm pointed to SoftBank’s experience with early, quick-to-grow startups as proof.

The deal could wrap by the end of September 2020 if it clears the usual hurdles from company boards and regulators.

It’s not shocking that Arm would go this route. While the number of connected devices is continuing to grow, Arm-based systems-on-a-chip are increasingly finding their way into computers ranging from supercomputers to Apple’s next-generation Macs. This is Arm’s opportunity to compete more directly with heavy-duty processors like those from AMD and Intel, and a narrower focus might help.

Next: The smartphone CPU arms race is about to heat up again