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posted by Fnord666 on Friday February 12 2021, @12:59AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

Nvidia's US$40 billion deal to buy Arm is all but dead – it's a classic example of geopolitics killing innovation

Under normal circumstances, US tech giant Nvidia's takeover of British chip designer Arm for US$40 billion (£29 billion) would have sailed through without registering beyond the computing industry. Instead, it has made international headlines, with UK and EU monopolies regulators launching an in-depth investigation after outcry from competitors.

In effect, the deal is pretty much dead before it starts. At the heart of this lies a row about technological sovereignty. So what is going on?

[...] The biggest pushback, behind the scenes, actually appears to be from China. Ever since the US blacklisted Huawei and other semiconductor manufacturers in China, Beijing has been obsessed with becoming technically "self-sufficient".

While it works towards this goal, Arm has continued to license its chip architectures to Huawei. Arm claims that its chip technology is of British origin and therefore does not breach the US restrictions on exporting tech to a group of blacklisted Chinese companies. Thanks to this ongoing arrangement, Arm is one of the remaining enablers for China's semiconductor sector to keep pace with the outside world.

See also: ANALYSIS-Nvidia acquisition of Arm throws company into tech spat between U.S. and China

Previously: Nvidia Announces $40 Billion Acquisition of Arm Holdings
Nvidia-Branded ARM CPUs; UK Trade Union Speaks Out Against Deal


Original Submission

Related Stories

Nvidia Announces $40 Billion Acquisition of Arm Holdings 20 comments

We had two submissions about this just-announced story.

Nvidia to buy Arm Holdings From SoftBank for $40 Billion

Nvidia to buy Arm Holdings from SoftBank for $40 billion

Chipmaker Nvidia has agreed to buy Arm Holdings, a designer of chips for mobile phones, from SoftBank in a deal worth $40 billion, the companies announced Sunday. The deal will include $21.5 billion in Nvidia stock and $12 billion in cash, including $2 billion payable at signing.

Softbank acquired Arm in 2016 for $31.4 billion in 2016 in one of its largest acquisitions ever. Arm is best known as the designer of an architecture used in chips in most mobile phones, including the Qualcomm chips used in most Android phones, as well as Apple's iPhone. Apple is also planning to shift its Mac computers from Intel chips to an Arm-based design.

Nvidia, whose chips are widely used to support graphics and artificial intelligence applications, including for self-driving vehicles, pledged that it would "continue Arm's open-licensing model and customer neutrality."

Interest in RISC-V set to skyrocket again.

Also at Bloomberg, The Verge, Tom's Hardware, and Wccftech.

Previously: Nvidia's Market Cap Rises Above Intel's
Nvidia Considering Acquisition of ARM for Over $32 Billion

Nvidia-Branded ARM CPUs; UK Trade Union Speaks Out Against Deal 9 comments

Jensen Huang Says Nvidia-Branded ARM CPUs Are a Possibility

According to comments from Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang during a conference call yesterday, we could see Nvidia-branded CPUs in the future, setting the stage for a new level of competition with Intel and AMD.

[...] However, during yesterday's briefing, Timothy Prickett Morgan from TheNextPlatform asked Jensen Huang, "Will you actually take an implementation of something like Neoverse first and make an Nvidia-branded CPU to drive it into the data center? Will you actually make the reference chip for those who just want it and actually help them run it?"

"Well, the first of all you've made an amazing observation, which is all three options are possible," Huang responded, "[...] So now with our backing and Arm's serious backing, the world can stand on that foundation and realize that they can build server CPUs. Now, some people would like to license the cores and build a CPU themselves. Some people may decide to license the cores and ask us to build those CPUs or modify ours."

"It is not possible for one company to build every single version of them," Huang continued, "but we will have the entire network of partners around Arm that can take the architectures we come up with and depending on what's best for them, whether licensing the core, having a semi-custom chip made, or having a chip that we made, any of those any of those options are available. Any of those options are available, we're open for business and we would like the ecosystem to be as rich as possible, with as many options as possible."

European Commission Extends Probe of Nvidia's Arm Acquisition 19 comments

Nvidia Offers Concessions in EU as Arm Deal Probe Extended

The European Commission (EC) this week extended its probe of Nvidia's proposed acquisition of Arm until at least October 27 and said that Nvidia offered the EU certain concessions to[sic] in a bid to persuade the bloc's antimonopoly regulators to approve the deal. Experts say that the EU regulatory review will take considerably longer.

In a bid to make regulators approve the deal to acquire Arm, Nvidia is eager to offer various incentives to respective countries or blocs. In the U.K., the company proposed to invest 'at least' $100 million in the country's most powerful supercomputer. The EC said that it had received concessions proposal from Nvidia as well, but did not elaborate, reports Bloomberg.

Now that the probe is formally extended to October 27, the EU competition authority will request opinion from competitors and clients before determining whether to accept Nvidia's concessions, demand more or initiate a four-month long investigation, reports Reuters. Bloomberg believes that the probe will be extended further, which will give the EC some additional time to seek feedback from interested parties and figure out what it might get from Nvidia.

Also at Notebookcheck.

Previously: Nvidia-Branded ARM CPUs; UK Trade Union Speaks Out Against Deal
Nvidia's $40 Billion ARM Acquisition: "All but Dead"?

Related: Arm Officially Supports Panfrost Open-Source Mali GPU Driver Development


Original Submission

U.S. Federal Trade Commission Sues to Block Nvidia's Arm Acquisition 10 comments

FTC Crashes NVIDIA's Party by Suing to Block its $40 Billion Deal To Acquire Arm Holdings

NVIDIA is now facing the most stringent test yet to its planned acquisition of the chip designer Arm Holdings.

To wit, the US FTC is now suing NVIDIA to block the $40 billion deal. FTC Bureau of Competition Director, Holly Vedova, said in a statement:

"The FTC is suing to block the largest semiconductor chip merger in history to prevent a chip conglomerate from stifling the innovation pipeline for next-generation technologies."

Vedova went on to note:

"Tomorrow's technologies depend on preserving today's competitive, cutting-edge chip markets. This proposed deal would distort Arm's incentives in chip markets and allow the combined firm to unfairly undermine Nvidia's rivals."

FTC press release.

Also at NYT, The Verge, and Reuters.

Previously;
Nvidia's $40 Billion ARM Acquisition: "All but Dead"?
European Commission Extends Probe of Nvidia's Arm Acquisition


Original Submission

Nvidia Prepares to Abandon Arm Acquisition, Will Pay $1.25 Billion Breakup Fee 17 comments

NVIDIA to drop its bid for ARM acquisition

NVIDIA faced strong opposition from regulatory bodies in their bid to purchase ARM Holdings, a British company owning the IP of its RISC (reduced instruction set computer) architectures. After numerous attempts to convince the market and governments that could oppose such a transaction, NVIDIA has allegedly given up the plans, which means that it will have to mark a $1.25 billion loss, money that should be considered a breakup fee.

NVIDIA's original plan was to pay 40 billion USD for the company. However, the US chipmaker no longer expects this transaction to close.

Also at Bloomberg and Wccftech.

Previously:

Nvidia Considering Acquisition of ARM for Over $32 Billion
Nvidia Announces $40 Billion Acquisition of Arm Holdings
Nvidia-Branded ARM CPUs; UK Trade Union Speaks Out Against Deal
Nvidia's $40 Billion ARM Acquisition: "All but Dead"?
European Commission Extends Probe of Nvidia's Arm Acquisition
Nvidia Reveals FTC has Expressed Concerns Over $40 Billion Arm Deal
U.S. Federal Trade Commission Sues to Block Nvidia's Arm Acquisition


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Runaway1956 on Friday February 12 2021, @01:09AM (7 children)

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 12 2021, @01:09AM (#1111807) Homepage Journal

    I thought the government was *finally* getting wise to the fact that $Big Corp acquiring $Random Assets was counter productive, if what you want is innovation.

    Granted, nVidia is not one of the prime suspects in the monopoly wars, but they are more than big enough to be watching carefully.

    --
    Taking bets: When does Biden's approval rating reach 15%?
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by RamiK on Friday February 12 2021, @01:39AM (4 children)

      by RamiK (1813) on Friday February 12 2021, @01:39AM (#1111817)

      nVidia is not one of the prime suspects in the monopoly wars

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GeForce_Partner_Program [wikipedia.org]

      --
      compiling...
      • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Friday February 12 2021, @02:16AM (3 children)

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 12 2021, @02:16AM (#1111824) Homepage Journal

        nVidia yielded to pressure. The Big Tech Giants won't yield to anything short of government regulation, backed by agents and/or troops with guns.

        --
        Taking bets: When does Biden's approval rating reach 15%?
        • (Score: 1, Informative) by Ethanol-fueled on Friday February 12 2021, @03:04AM (2 children)

          by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Friday February 12 2021, @03:04AM (#1111834) Homepage

          Biden will make it okay, hell -- mandatory, for Americans to cede their tech dominance to Chinks. But in NVIDIA's defense, they're not one of those "evil" tech companies directly involved in propaganda and fucking with the flow of human information. They may sell their product (muh AI, muh Buttcoin mining) to those that enable treason and propaganda, but unlike Facebook and Twitter they're not an inherently evil company. They want to make bucks, not control minds. And unlike Facebook and Twitter, NVIDIA have actual products, something to fall back on in case the deep-state funny-money dries up (with Twitter and Facebook along with it).

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 12 2021, @03:17AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 12 2021, @03:17AM (#1111836)

            Facebook and Twitter are not evil, they merely process the excrement of their users for profit.

            As long as the Germans can export beer around the world, who gives a damn?

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 12 2021, @06:36PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 12 2021, @06:36PM (#1112033)

            "but unlike Facebook and Twitter they're not an inherently evil company"

            oh yes they are. they are slaveware peddling scum doing everything they can to inhibit human freedom. fuck you, nvidia!

    • (Score: 2) by mth on Friday February 12 2021, @06:07AM

      by mth (2848) on Friday February 12 2021, @06:07AM (#1111859) Homepage

      They first have to acquire a monopoly position before they can abuse it. It looks like this time regulators are not going to sit back and watch that happen.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by driverless on Friday February 12 2021, @07:51AM

      by driverless (4770) on Friday February 12 2021, @07:51AM (#1111877)

      The EU at least has, they have strong anti-monopoly regulators. The story's claim that "This is why Beijing will never let the takeover go through" sounds like a pile of bollocks, I never knew the International Communist Conspiracy had that much power. Even the emotional title "a classic example of geopolitics killing innovation" is bollocks - how is nVidia becoming a monopoly with control of the CPUs for the entire world's phones and mobile devices "innovation"? Or do they mean innovation in predatory business practices?

      So I'm glad it's dead, not for any reason connected to China but because I don't want nVidia in control of all phones and tablets.

  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 12 2021, @01:33AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 12 2021, @01:33AM (#1111814)

    Even If ARM does get acquired by Nvidia, China/Huawei can still throw money at RISC-V design and in due time it will become competitive with ARM's offerings.

  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 12 2021, @06:48AM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 12 2021, @06:48AM (#1111866)
    How the fuck would Nvidia not being able to buy Arm kill innovation?

    Seems more likely to encourage innovation if anything.
    • (Score: 2) by sjames on Friday February 12 2021, @09:28AM (2 children)

      by sjames (2882) on Friday February 12 2021, @09:28AM (#1111899) Journal

      I believe his claim was actually that allowing Nvidia to buy ARM would harm innovation.

      • (Score: 2) by mth on Friday February 12 2021, @03:17PM (1 child)

        by mth (2848) on Friday February 12 2021, @03:17PM (#1111971) Homepage

        The author does claim that the merger would help innovation. The motivation for that given in the article boils down to "bigger is better" and as someone who has done development for a big company, I have my doubts.

        • (Score: 2) by sjames on Friday February 12 2021, @08:36PM

          by sjames (2882) on Friday February 12 2021, @08:36PM (#1112094) Journal

          Perhaps I shouldn't comment so late. I see you are correct. Also agreed that mergers only slow innovation and raise prices.

  • (Score: 5, Funny) by Subsentient on Friday February 12 2021, @10:41AM (3 children)

    by Subsentient (1111) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 12 2021, @10:41AM (#1111913) Homepage Journal

    I can't decide which takes precedence here: My bitter, scalding hatred for China, or my bitter, scalding hatred for Nvidia.

    Damn.

    --
    If I'm too negative, you're too ignorant not to be! -Foamy the Squirrel
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 12 2021, @12:45PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 12 2021, @12:45PM (#1111929)

      Hey dude, you comment came 802 posts too late.

    • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 12 2021, @02:10PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 12 2021, @02:10PM (#1111947)

      Why choose? It's a Big Tent.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 13 2021, @04:11PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 13 2021, @04:11PM (#1112309)

      wasn't nvidia founded by a chinaman?

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