Apple and Imagination Technologies, the U.K. company from which Apple used to license GPUs previously, have once again signed a new business agreement. This new multi-year agreement will provide Apple with a “wider range” range of Imagination’s IP in lieu of license fees.
Before Apple started designing its own GPUs, it used to license them from Imagination Technologies. However, just like it did with its CPUs, the company started designing its own GPUs which first debuted inside the A11 Bionic in 2017 on the iPhone X. Since then, Apple has worked on reducing its reliance on Imagination Technologies which has seen the licensing revenue drop notably for the latter.
Losing Apple — its biggest customer — was a big blow for the GPU maker which has struggled to stay afloat after that. Eventually, the company put itself up for sale and was acquired by Canyon Bridge Capital, a Chinese funded company in 2017.
When Apple started designing its own GPUs, Imagination was quick to point out that it would be almost impossible for the company to design GPUs without using its IPs. This, in turn, would mean that Imagination would be receiving royalty from Apple which led to a dispute between the two companies. It is unclear if the Cupertino company ever paid the royalty dues to Imagination or not.
The latest multi-year licensing agreement between Apple and Imagination Technologies likely provides the former with access to GPU and AI-related IPs. This will likely help Apple in the further development of its future chips. The licensing deal will help Imagination Technologies for the time being, though it cannot rely on it alone as Apple will likely end the deal after a few years when it no longer needs its IPs.[Via Bloomberg]