The deal gives Apple access to Imagination’s wide range of current and future PowerVR graphics and video IP cores that sit alongside the ARM processor cores. ARM this week also revealed it now owns nearly 500 patents covering the MIPS technology that Imagination acquired last year.
"This deal is very important," said John Metcalfe, chief operating officer of Imagination. "Clearly we have had tremendous success with Apple with multiple generations of their devices and we feel its very significant that they have extended the current agreement. This is a multi-year agreement across multiple IP, both existing and future IP."
Under the terms of the above licensing arrangement, Imagination will receive on-going license fees, and royalty revenues on shipment of SoCs (Systems on Chip) incorporating Imagination’s IP.
With the acquisition of the MIPS processor cores last year Imagination is now a major competitor to ARM, whose cores are also used in Apple designs. "What we do as a matter of course is offer our customers a range of bus interfaces, whether that an internal bus, AXI or OCP," said Metcalfe. "Many people will look to AXI as the hardware interface and we support all our licensees with the interfaces to MIPS, Intel or ARM. ON the software side we deliver device drivers to our licensees that are targeting these three processor families."
This week it emerged that ARM has acquired 498 patents from the MIPS acquisition. "There was nothing too surprising in the ARM results this week except the write off on the patent pool," said Metcalfe. "We think its neutral. Obviously that was one of the key areas to assure ourselves of when we acquired MIPS that we had the freedom to develop the architecture without being bound by legacy patents."
ARM tops $1bn