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posted by Fnord666 on Friday February 12, @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."

Arm Pioneer: Nvidia's Grace CPU is Proof That It Will 'Compete Unfairly' 17 comments

Arm Pioneer: Nvidia's Grace CPU Is Proof That It Will 'Compete Unfairly'

Arm pioneer Hermann Hauser has once again criticized Nvidia's plan to acquire the semiconductor design company, with The Telegraph reporting Sunday that he believes Nvidia is "clearly showing it will compete unfairly" if the deal is approved.

Hauser's concerns reportedly centered on the Grace processor Nvidia announced at GTC 2021. The company's first Arm-based CPU will connect to high-end GPUs via NVLink, which purportedly offers data transfer speeds up to 900 GBps. That's significantly faster than other technologies—it's also exclusively available to Nvidia.

This is why Hauser told The Telegraph that he believes using a proprietary interface like NVLink could end up "locking customers into [Nvidia] products," which "clearly shows that they will compete unfairly with other Arm-based server companies such as Amazon and Fujitsu," rather than retaining Arm's neutrality.

Previously:
Nvidia-Branded ARM CPUs; UK Trade Union Speaks Out Against Deal
Nvidia's $40 Billion ARM Acquisition: "All but Dead"?
Nvidia Enters the Arms Race with Homegrown "Grace" CPUs
UK Will Investigate Nvidia's $40 Billion Arm Acquisition Attempt


Original Submission

UK Will Investigate Nvidia's $40 Billion Arm Acquisition Attempt 22 comments

Nvidia's Share Price Dips as UK Goverment Questions $40 Billion Arm Acquisition

The UK Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport today announced that he is asking the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to investigate the Nvidia-Arm merger because he believes the deal could have national security implications.

CMA has until July 31 to "prepare a report on the competition and national security aspects of the proposed transaction" for the UK Secretary of State. Then it's up to the Secretary to decide if Nvidia's acquisition of Arm will be allowed to proceed.

Also at CNBC and Bloomberg.

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"?


Original Submission

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

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 12, @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.

    --
    "I didn't lose to him!" - The Donald referring to Trippin' Joe
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by RamiK on Friday February 12, @01:39AM (4 children)

      by RamiK (1813) on Friday February 12, @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, @02:16AM (3 children)

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 12, @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.

        --
        "I didn't lose to him!" - The Donald referring to Trippin' Joe
        • (Score: 1, Informative) by Ethanol-fueled on Friday February 12, @03:04AM (2 children)

          by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Friday February 12, @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, @03:17AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 12, @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, @06:36PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 12, @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, @06:07AM

      by mth (2848) on Friday February 12, @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, @07:51AM

      by driverless (4770) on Friday February 12, @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, @01:33AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 12, @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, @06:48AM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 12, @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, @09:28AM (2 children)

      by sjames (2882) on Friday February 12, @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, @03:17PM (1 child)

        by mth (2848) on Friday February 12, @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, @08:36PM

          by sjames (2882) on Friday February 12, @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, @10:41AM (3 children)

    by Subsentient (1111) on Friday February 12, @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.

    --
    “Man is not a rational animal; he is a rationalizing animal.” ― Robert A. Heinlein
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 12, @12:45PM

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

      Hey dude, you comment came 802 posts too late.

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

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

      Why choose? It's a Big Tent.

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

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

      wasn't nvidia founded by a chinaman?

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