IMO we are quickly moving to an era in which Google and Microsoft have no choice but to produce branded mobile devices to compete with Apple. The question is, who needs NVIDIA more? Apple, Google or Microsoft?
Its not so much the revenue or lower cost an acquisition would bring, but by capturing NVIDIA the acquirer makes QCOM the only option and thus higher prices for those needing to buy LTE SOCs on the open market.
NVIDIA (NASDAQ: NVDA): market cap $8.0 billion. One hears a lot of loose talk that the graphics card is dead, thanks to on-board graphics on Intel's Ivy Bridge chips. What the tech pundits don't see is that the graphics card has been integrated onto the SOC; and in this role, graphics processors, whether in Intel or ARM based SOCs, are very much alive. In this application, NVIDIA excels as well. More relevant for Apple, though, is NVIDIA's expertise in building ARM processors. NVIDIA's new quad core Tegra 4 represents the absolute state of the art for ARM processors. Apple currently designs their own dual core ARM processors, but if they wanted to be truly ahead of the pack, buying NVIDIA would put them there. The discreet graphics chip business could even be spun off if Apple decided it wasn't worth keeping. Operating income growth was flat at $648 million for NVIDIA's most recent fiscal year (ending 1/27/13) with basically flat revenues in NVIDIA's operating segments except Tegra, which grew 90% y/y in the fiscal fourth quarter.