Arm to develop AI processors — prototypes ready for spring 2025, says report

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Arm is set to develop artificial intelligence processors for its parent company Softbank, which plans to use them in its own datacenters, reports Nikkei. This will mark a significant step in Softbank's CEO Masayoshi Son's vision to transform the company into an AI-driven conglomerate with a projected investment of 10 trillion yen ($64 billion). 

The UK-based Arm will create a specialized division dedicated to AI chips, with the goal of having a prototype ready by spring 2025. Following the prototype processor in spring 2025, mass production of Arm's processors is anticipated to commence in the fall of 2025 at a contract maker of chips, such as TSMC, Samsung Foundry, or Intel. 

SoftBank intends to build datacenters using its own processors across the U.S., Europe, Asia, and the Middle East by 2026. Due to the substantial power requirements of datacenters, the company will reportedly also expand into power generation. Plans include the development of wind and solar power facilities, with an eye on pioneering next-generation fusion technology, Nikkei claims. 

SoftBank, which owns a 90% stake in Arm, will cover the initial development expenses, expected to run into hundreds of billions of yen. Once the processor is in mass production, the AI chip business might be separated and operated under the SoftBank umbrella, reports Nikkei. Meanwhile, it is unclear whether Arm will make the design available to its clients. It is also unclear how Arm's customers will see this plan as Softbank will compete not only against developers of chips that license technology from Arm, but also against cloud companies, such as Amazon and Microsoft

Son's broader strategy involves leveraging AI to enhance capabilities across datacenters, robotics, and power generation sectors. SoftBank's commitment is to fuse cutting-edge AI, processors, and robotics technologies to drive innovation across various industries.  

The Softbank CEO has been proactive globally, traveling to key technology hubs in Taiwan and the U.S., and meeting with industry leaders to garner support for his AI initiatives. He has emphasized the potential of artificial general intelligence to revolutionize sectors like shipping, pharmaceuticals, finance, manufacturing, and logistics. 

The market for AI processors is growing rapidly and is expected to balloon from $30 billion this year to more than $100 billion by 2029, and surpassing $200 billion by 2032, according to estimates cited by Nikkei. Despite Nvidia's current leadership in the market, the company is struggling to meet surging demand for its AI processors, such as the H100, which is an opportunity for SoftBank.

Anton Shilov
Freelance News Writer

Anton Shilov is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Over the past couple of decades, he has covered everything from CPUs and GPUs to supercomputers and from modern process technologies and latest fab tools to high-tech industry trends.

  • MBOO7
    Logical next step for Softbank. HOWEVER, if you are playing with fire you might get burnt. This has hig conflict potential and conflict of interest respectively. *pop corn*
  • bit_user
    MBOO7 said:
    Logical next step for Softbank. HOWEVER, if you are playing with fire you might get burnt. This has hig conflict potential and conflict of interest respectively. *pop corn*
    Good point. Virtually all of ARM's licensees are also in the AI game in some way that would see this new venture as a competitive threat.

    I was going to mention that I hope ARM is accounting for fab capacity and pricing to make enough AI chips for these datacenters. They might need to make some direct investments in the silicon supply chain, like yesterday.
  • DotNetMaster777
    What about performance of these processors ? ?