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U.S. chipmaker and Apple supplier Qualcomm has told regulators around the world that it opposes Nvidia's $40 billion proposed acquisition of Arm, according to CNBC.

arm-logo-blue-bg.jpg


Qualcomm has registered an objection to Nvidia's acquisition of Arm with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the European Commission, the UK Competition and Markets Authority, and China's State Administration for Market Regulation. Qualcomm believes that the acquisition risks Nvidia acting as a gatekeeper for Arm's technology, and could prevent other chipmakers from using it. Most importantly, Qualcomm is building a case to suggest that the only way Nvidia can make the acquisition profitable will be to gatekeep Arm's technology.

British chip architect Arm is currently owned by Japanese tech giant SoftBank and licenses its chip designs to over 500 companies, including Apple. With Arm's architecture being used in 95 percent of the world's smartphones, there has been significant concern around Nvidia, which is a rival to Arm licensees such as AMD and Apple, acquiring the company.

Arm's architecture underpins all of Apple's custom silicon processors such as the A14 in the iPhone 12 or the M1 in the MacBook Pro, since Apple licenses the Arm instruction set. While Apple does not license entire core designs from Arm and still designs its own custom silicon, if the deal is permitted, Nvidia will become responsible for the vital instruction set behind Apple's own chips.

Nvidia says that the deal will create the world's "premier computing company for the age of AI," and has pledged to keep the company headquartered in Cambridge, England.

The FTC has now reportedly moved into the "second phase" of its investigations, asking SoftBank, Nvidia, and Arm itself to provide more information about the acquisition. This phase is also expected to involve discussion with other companies with relevant information, such as Qualcomm. Since a number of large documents will now need to be produced, the investigation is expected to continue for several more months.

Qualcomm is said to believe that it will play a significant role in whether the deal is allowed to continue, having spoken to antitrust representatives and legal counsel. Nvidia told CNBC that it is confident regulators will see the benefits of the acquisition, yet five senior industry sources said that the deal has "a very high chance of being blocked" by regulators.

At the end of the day, whether this deal is anti-competitive or not, is based on a very simple idea: Arm is an enabler of competition. It enables companies to go out and compete. Whether you are MediaTek, Amazon Web Services, Qualcomm, or NXP. Any company — regardless of your R&D (research and development) budget — can take and license from Arm and build their own Arm-based CPU. That is a unique model.

SoftBank reportedly approached Apple to see if it was interested in the purchase of Arm last year, but Apple was believed to have rejected the opportunity in part due to these regulatory concerns.

In addition to Qualcomm, AI chip start-up company Graphcore has raised concerns with the UK's Competition and Markets Authority, saying that the deal is anti-competitive, while in China, Huawei is similarly calling for the deal to be blocked.

Article Link: Qualcomm Opposes Nvidia's Acquisition of Arm as Deal Comes Under Increasing Scrutiny
 

Xenobius

macrumors member
Dec 10, 2019
73
188
Hey Qualcomm, just call a consortium of big companies and FREE the ARM.
 
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jz0309

Contributor
Sep 25, 2018
3,690
10,867
Temecula, CA
a bit surprising, though given recent developments in the semiconductor space I expect that the EU will not allow this to go through anyway ...
Edit: in wake of Brexit, not sure about the EU involvement in this but the British regulators will object
 
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mzeb

macrumors regular
Jan 30, 2007
228
303
I agree that NVIDIA owning ARM is not a good plan. They are already primarily a chipmaker and the way they license GPU technology is antithetical to how ARM has traditionally worked. ARM wants more ARM procs out there and wants a lot of inexpensive licenses. NVIDIA charges a LOT for their licenses and wants to keep their pool of licensees small so they can keep an eye on them.
Now ARM being part of Apple is an interesting thought. And whether it is good or bad depends on how Apple treats it. If they lock it down like Apple is often wont to do then that would be very bad. It would stifle the growth of ARM as a technology which is bad. Good things have come out of ARM as it is. Also it would allow Intel to be more competitive. Now if Apple sets up something collaborative like Connected Home alliance for smart home tech it could be something really amazing for consumers.
 
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cmaier

macrumors Penryn
Jul 25, 2007
24,110
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California
I question Qualcomm's motives given their stranglehold on wireless IP. That said, I'm concerned about a company that makes things acquiring the IP that other companies have licenses for. ARM itself doesn't make the chips.

Neither does NVIDIA or qualcomm, if we’re being pedantic.
 
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Art Mark

macrumors 6502
Jan 6, 2010
389
706
Oregon
My last post on this but Qualcomm is NOT much more than a patent troll. The fact they are looking for Govt. handouts, and want to block this simply demonstrate a company with no idea what to do and how to do it except trough lawsuits and - imagine that - buying other technology companies. Qualcomm is a low point for US tech. - I'll add this - so many of these companies don't care about 'law'. They are simply putting their interest above ACTUAL competition (looking at you Epic). They want the preferred treatment, they want protection - except when it interferes with their quarterly results. So take all this with a very large sized chunk of salt. It's the age old 'we want a free market' unless we can do better without it...
 
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citysnaps

macrumors G3
Oct 10, 2011
8,002
14,046
San Francisco
My last post on this but Qualcomm is NOT much more than a patent troll. The fact they are looking for Govt. handouts, and want to block this simply demonstrate a company with no idea what to do and how to do it except trough lawsuits and - imagine that - buying other technology companies. Qualcomm is a low point for US tech. - I'll add this - so many of these companies don't care about 'law'. They are simply putting their interest above ACTUAL competition (looking at you Epic). They want the preferred treatment, they want protection - except when it interferes with their quarterly results. So take all this with a very large sized chunk of salt. It's the age old 'we want a free market' unless we can do better without it...

Qualcomm is far from being a patent troll. Do some research about the company, perhaps starting with Dr. Andrew Viterbi, and how they've lead in the field of digital communications over the years.
 
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anakin44011

macrumors newbie
Jan 6, 2004
28
116
Oh sure, let's let Nvidia buy ARM...and the next thing you know, Taylor Swift is re-recording ARM just to keep the royalties to herself!!

I might be mixing news stories here...but there are some interesting "potential" similarities if this doesn't get handled well.

The best solution might be a clean spin-off. A new IPO (or SPAC) of a company that just licenses the technology and collects revenues to return profits to the shareholders.
 
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Defoler

macrumors newbie
Jul 30, 2014
27
30
People seem to forget that Qualcomm has been anti competitive when it came to Apple, asking more from licensing than any other manufacturers.
so I find it extremely hypocritical of them for speaking anything about competition considering their current practice.
 
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