Imagination Reportedly Signs Chip Licensing Deal With Apple - InformationWeek

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Infrastructure // PC & Servers

Imagination Reportedly Signs Chip Licensing Deal With Apple

The agreement may be an indication that Imagination is following ARM Holdings, which is believed to have granted Apple a license to design system-on-chips with its processor core.

Imagination Technologies Group, whose graphics processor cores are used in the Apple iPhone, said Thursday that it has signed a multiyear licensing agreement with an unnamed company, sparking speculation on the Web that the mystery firm could be Apple.

Imagination, a licensor of intellectual property, said the latest agreement is an extension of the initial licensing deal signed with the "international electronics systems company" 14 months ago. The latest arrangement covers Imagination's PowerVR graphics and video cores used in system-on-chip designs.

The company said its technology would be featured in the licensee's future products. In return, Imagination will receive ongoing licensing fees as well as royalties.

Imagination's PowerVR MBX technology is part of the current generation of Apple iPhones. The new agreement may be an indication that Imagination may have followed ARM Holdings, another IP licensor believed to have granted Apple a license to design system-on-chips with its processor core, EETimes reported. EETimes is published by United Business Media, which also publishes InformationWeek.

An Apple spokesperson was not immediately available to comment on the report.

ARM and Imagination used to work closely on combined licensing of their processor and graphic cores, respectively, EETimes said. The two drew apart after ARM acquired Falanx Microsystems and its Mali graphics processors.

The latest Imagination deal prompted speculation among Apple watchers on the Web that the Mac and consumer electronics maker could be the licensee. The speculation is made that much more plausible by Apple's acquisition in April of P.A. Semi, a boutique microprocessor company that specializes in ultra-low-power microprocessors used in devices such as mobile phones.

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