NVIDIA's Planned Acquisition Of Arm Is Meeting Major Global Antitrust Resistance
A fresh report from Nikkei says that NVIDIA's plans to acquire Arm face big questions from governments worldwide, and that still, four months after the announcement, there are still obstacles to overcome. NVIDIA competes directly with many companies who are current Arm customers, including Qualcomm, Samsung, Intel, AMD, and Apple. Globally, the report says many regulators are still concerned that these companies would face unfavorable changes in licensing or other issues that NVIDIA itself would not face because it would own the Arm ISA. These same questions have been circling for months, and so far, no government agency worldwide has been totally satisifed.
In late December, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission sent a "second request" to NVIDIA. This is a formal process by which the FTC expects NVIDIA to share additional details and documents related to anti-trust concerns, including how it intends to keep Arm accessible in a way that does not hurt the company's rivals. This is a good sign that the U.S. is taking this acquisition seriously, according to Japanese lawyer Takafumi Uematsu. "The first hurdle [for the SoftBank-Nvidia deal] to clear is the FTC's investigation. The results of the U.S. investigation is likely to affect regulatory actions taken in the EU, China and other markets," said Uematsu.
Even weeks after the announcement, SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son said he was not concerned about the sale. At the time, Arm co-founder Herman Hauser was less optimistic. More recently, Hauser has set up a campaign to oppose the NVIDIA acquisition. That site includes an open letter directed to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in which he says that Arm is the only British company at the forefront of mobile phone technology, and that the U.K. should block the deal.
For its part, NVIDIA has pushed forward with its goal of acquiring Arm. In a statement, NVIDIA said, "With its proposed acquisition of Arm, NVIDIA will be able to turn new AI possibilities into realities much faster." The company also promised to continue to push Arm's open licensing model and maintain customer neutrality. The deal is still on pretty uncertain ground, considering so much is at stake. We'll continue to monitor progress and report events as they happen.