Will RISC-V be a contender now that Nvidia is buying Arm?

7 min read
fairly easy
RISC-V International CEO Calista Redmond shares her thoughts on Nvidia's pending acquisition of Arm and why she believes RISC-V is a contender.
The microprocessor industry's unfolding saga got a big plot twist a couple of weeks ago when Nvidia paid $40 billion to buy Arm, the world's leading processor architecture.

That deal turned some heads, as it meant a proprietary parent company was taking over a business that openly licensed its architecture to all comers. Nvidia and Arm promised the ARM architecture would continue to be available for licensing, but you could see other players looking for a backup plan.

One of the alternatives is RISC-V, a rival architecture that is royalty-free and open. Though the architecture was created a decade ago by university professors, RISC-V has been building its ecosystem for years and has started to hit its stride with big licensees like Western Digital, SiFive, and even Nvidia itself.

Now the question is whether RISC-V will gain even more momentum, whether from China or from big tech platform owners like Intel or Qualcomm, who are both investors in SiFive. I talked with RISC-V International CEO Calista Redmond, who has over 20 years of management experience and is a veteran of open systems, about the company's outlook.

Here's an edited transcript of our interview.

Image Credit: RISC-V Foundation

VentureBeat: Did you have a rush of people come to you and start conversations after the deal? Or was that already happening?

Calista Redmond: I haven't noticed a specific new interest in RISC-V in the last week. But it's been a very steady stream. We've had a lot of visibility over the last few years, especially coming through our global forum that we had on September 3. On the heels of that, it's difficult to discern exactly where the interest is coming from. But we are noticing a deepening of our current members in their interest, including Nvidia. They've spoken publicly about their ongoing commitment to RISC-V. It's not surprising, honestly. They've been great, open collaboration partners as long as I've worked with them, which dates back to OpenPOWER as well.…
Dean Takahashi
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