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Did the MIPS acquisition just doom Vivante?

Did the MIPS acquisition just doom Vivante?
by Don Dingee on 11-06-2012 at 12:48 pm

By now, you’ve probably read about the Imagination Technologies acquisition of MIPS somewhere, hopefully in the Eric Esteve article here. There’s an interesting side effect not being talked about much.

The premise here is ARM, with both processor and graphics IP, is a juggernaut. Imagination didn’t really have a widely-supported processor core; though they will wax about how great their Meta architecture is, it lacked support for Android and IP-fab relationships. Presumably, Imagination is trying to roll all MIPS customers into the PowerVR camp right now.

Which doesn’t bode well for Vivante. I talked about them in an earlier post on graphics IP here. With just under 5% share and heavy ties to MIPS licensees, they are likely about to watch most of their business disappear. (There are a couple other notable design-ins, such as the Freescale i.MX6.)

That’s a shame, because it reduces the mobile graphics IP choice to ARM or Imagination. (Qualcomm and NVIDIA do their own.) Vivante could go agile and move their technology to something other than graphics IP and survive, or they could realign partnerships with Freescale and others in the ARM camp (some who might be disaffected with an Imagination/MIPS pairing) and go for a different type of multimedia solution in non-smartphone markets. Or, Vivante could sell the biz to somebody.

This news has a lot of implications for the mobile and embedded markets. Any thoughts?


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