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Qualcomm makes its objections to NVIDIA's acquisition of ARM public

Qualcomm has issues with the ARM/NVIDIA merger. (Source: Qualcomm)
Qualcomm has issues with the ARM/NVIDIA merger. (Source: Qualcomm)
NVIDIA secured an agreement to buy the often-essential chip-design company ARM for ~US$40 billion in late 2020. However, regulators are still scrutinizing it and its ramifications for the tech industry prior to approving it. Now, Qualcomm has sent an official notice of concern over the same with these bodies.

ARM is a Cambridge, UK company with the architecture required to make over 90% of the SoCs found in all smartphones worldwide, as well as the same amount of processors made in China. It is currently owned by SoftBank, although it has agreed to sell it to NVIDIA for a sum of nearly US$40 billion. However, this deal has not technically gone ahead, as it is still at a stage at which it is being assessed for potential issues such as monopolization and anti-competitiveness within the electronics industry.

Therefore, the ARM/NVIDIA agreement must be approved by bodies such as the US' Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the European Commission (EC), the UK's Competition and Markets Authority and China's State Market Regulatory Administration. Qualcomm has reportedly complicated this process further by sending them an official letter of objection to the acquisition.

Qualcomm is a chip-designer that is often dependent on ARM IP to complete its products, which include the major Snapdragon line of mobile chipsets. Therefore, it is worried that NVIDIA intends to end the open license by which this vital property is currently obtained in order to become a "gatekeepr" for ARM technology.

In addition, it argues that an NVIDIA that also owns ARM would have disproportionate influence over the prevailing trade war between the US and China. However, NVIDIA has apparently pledged to mitigate such issues through measures such as keeping ARM based in the UK. The regulators have yet to respond to Qualcomm's missive on the subject.

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> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2021 02 > Qualcomm makes its objections to NVIDIA's acquisition of ARM public
Deirdre O'Donnell, 2021-02-14 (Update: 2021-02-14)