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Could Intel be about to buyout SiFive?

According to Reuters Intel is debating a possible offer to buy SiFive, a company that is closely associated with open-source technology that is challenging the rise of Arm, which is in turn a major Intel competitor.

Another report, this time from Bloomberg, cited a source that said that Intel is considering a $2 billion offer for the company in which it, along with rivals such as Qualcomm, is already an investor. SiFive recently raised $61 million in a funding round led by SK Hynix.

SiFive, a California-based startup, employs several of the creators of RISC-V, an open-source chip technology. It is seen as challenging Arm which is itself in the process of being acquired by Nvidia in a controversial deal worth $40 billion. SiFive designs computing cores using the RISC-V architecture.

The acquisition of SiFive would give Intel a library of intellectual property it could use both in its own chips or which it could license to future customers. It is already looking to build a new business, opening up its factories to outsiders for the first time, and has plans to license out computing cores based on its own proprietary x86 architecture to customers as part of its contract manufacturing business.

Another significant gain from buying SiFive would come in terms of software. SiFive is working on making it easier to program to different kinds of computing chips and recently hired Chris Lattner, a leading Silicon Valley computer scientist, who created the Swift programming language for Apple.

Neil Tyler

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