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

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

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.

Top Rated Comments

Apple_Robert Avatar
12 months ago

Nvidia told CNBC said it is confident regulators will see the benefits of the acquisition. Arm declined to comment and SoftBank did not immediately respond to a CNBC request for comment.
That doesn't explain why you think this story is awesome.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
RogueWarrior65 Avatar
12 months ago
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.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mr. Donahue Avatar
12 months ago
wish people were more outraged when Disney bought Fox or when Disney bought abc or Facebook bought Instagram or when Amazon bought Whole Foods or when google ....became google!
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Apple_Robert Avatar
12 months ago

Nice! That’s awesome.
What exactly is "awesome" about this?
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
itsmeaustend Avatar
12 months ago
This acquisition needs to be halted immediately. This would be awful for the tech industry. I hope Qualcomm is successful in their endeavour.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
haunebu Avatar
12 months ago
If Nvidia acquires ARM it'll put all of the other ARM licensees at a disadvantage. Nvidia would be steering the roadmap, have first dibs on all future ARM-based technologies, etc. Nvidia's acquisition would effectively end ARM as a licensable architecture.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

qualcomm snapdragon x65

Qualcomm's Snapdragon X65 Modem Upgraded With Wider mmWave Coverage Ahead of Inclusion in 2022 iPhones

Wednesday May 19, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
Qualcomm today announced it has upgraded its Snapdragon X65 5G modem with improved power efficiency and support for wider mmWave carriers, a key requirement ahead of the rollout of 5G mmWave networks in China. Specifically, the modem now supports wider 200MHz carrier bandwidth in the mmWave spectrum and mmWave in standalone (SA) mode, while new power-saving technologies part of Qualcomm 5G...
microsoft surface book x

Microsoft Brings x64 Emulation to Windows on Arm PCs

Friday December 11, 2020 11:43 am PST by
Microsoft today announced the first preview of x64 emulation for Arm PCs, with the feature now available to Windows Insiders in the Dev Channel. That means Windows users who have Arm PCs like the Surface Pro X can now install apps that have not been ported to Arm64. When we first launched Windows 10 on ARM in late 2017, the long tail of apps customers needed were dominated by 32-bit-only x86...
qualcomm iphone xs

FTC Abandons Antitrust Lawsuit Against Qualcomm

Monday March 29, 2021 3:22 pm PDT by
The United States Federal Trade Commission is abandoning its antitrust lawsuit against Qualcomm, reports Bloomberg. The FTC will not seek a Supreme Court review of a 2020 federal appeals court decision that determined that Qualcomm's licensing practices are fair and not anticompetitive. In a statement, FTC chairwoman Rebecca Kelly Slaughter said that the FTC's conclusion that Qualcomm...
ai company acquisitions

Apple Bought the Most AI Companies From 2016 to 2020

Thursday March 25, 2021 10:50 am PDT by
Apple is the leading buyer of companies in the global artificial intelligence space, according to data shared today by GlobalData. From 2016 to 2020, Apple acquired the highest number of AI companies, beating out Accenture, Google, Microsoft, and Facebook, all of whom also had a high number of AI acquisitions. Over the course of the last several years, Apple has bought companies like...
samsungs20galaxylineup

Qualcomm Struggling to Keep Up With Processor Demand and Shortages Could Impact Samsung

Friday March 12, 2021 1:35 pm PST by
Qualcomm is having a hard time keeping up with demand for the processor chips that Android manufacturers rely on, reports Reuters. Chip shortages have been impacting multiple industries, and have now hit the electronics business. There's no indication that Qualcomm's supply troubles will impact Apple, but smartphone manufacturers like Samsung could be in trouble. Apple develops its own...
applesilicon

SoftBank May Be Selling Arm, But Apple Isn't Interested

Wednesday July 22, 2020 3:00 pm PDT by
SoftBank, the company that owns chip designer Arm Holdings, is exploring options that could include a full or partial sale of Arm, according to rumors, but Apple isn't interested in purchasing the company. In a report on Nvidia's possible interest in Arm, Bloomberg says that SoftBank approached Apple to see if Apple might want to buy Arm. The two companies reportedly had preliminary...
nvidia logo

Nvidia in 'Advanced Talks' to Acquire Arm

Friday July 31, 2020 9:26 am PDT by
Nvidia is in advanced talks to acquire SoftBank Group's Arm Holdings, according to Bloomberg. A potential sale of Arm to Nvidia, the world's largest graphics chipmaker, was rumored earlier this month. Nvidia's market value has increased to almost $260 billion in recent months, surpassing that of Intel. Arm has also become considerably more valuable as it pushes its architecture into smart...
qualcomm iphone 7

UK Consumer Watchdog Sues Qualcomm for Allegedly Breaching Competition Law

Thursday February 25, 2021 2:51 am PST by
Around 29 million Britons who own an Apple or Samsung phone could be entitled to a collective £480m payout if a landmark legal claim against U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm is successful. Consumer watchdog Which? is suing the chipmaker for allegedly breaching U.K. competition law by taking advantage of its dominance in the patent licensing and chip markets. As reported by the BBC, Which? alleges ...

Popular Stories

iPhone 14 Mock pill and hole thumb

ProMotion Now Expected to Remain Exclusive to iPhone 14 Pro Models, Not Expand to Entire Lineup

Sunday January 16, 2022 8:56 am PST by
Continuing the tradition set with the iPhone 13 Pro, only the highest-end iPhone 14 models will feature Apple's ProMotion display technology, according to a respected display analyst. Ross Young, who on multiple occasions has detailed accurate information about Apple's future products, said in a tweet that ProMotion will not be expanded to the entire iPhone 14 lineup and will remain...
safari icon blue banner

Safari Bug Allows Websites to Track Your Recent Browsing Activity in Real Time [Updated]

Sunday January 16, 2022 3:37 pm PST by
A bug in WebKit's implementation of a JavaScript API called IndexedDB can reveal your recent browsing history and even your identity, according to a blog post shared on Friday by browser fingerprinting service FingerprintJS. In a nutshell, the bug allows any website that uses IndexedDB to access the names of IndexedDB databases generated by other websites during a user's browsing session....
ipad air 4 video

New iPad Air Rumored to Launch This Spring With A15 Chip, 5G, Center Stage Camera, and More

Saturday January 15, 2022 8:05 pm PST by
Apple is planning to release a fifth-generation iPad Air with similar features as the sixth-generation iPad mini, including an A15 Bionic chip, 12-megapixel Ultra Wide front camera with Center Stage support, 5G for cellular models, and Quad-LED True Tone flash, according to Japanese blog Mac Otakara. Citing reliables sources in China, the report claims that the new iPad Air could be...
Unlikely Products 2022 Feature

Six Rumored Apple Products You're Unlikely to See This Year

Saturday January 15, 2022 2:06 pm PST by
Much has been said about what consumers could see from Apple in 2022, but the company is also working on a handful of rumored products that aren't expected to be unveiled for at least another 12 months, and in some cases a lot longer. Of course, that's assuming they get released at all. Apple works on many potential products some of which ultimately never see the light of day. With that in...
AirPods Pro Gen 3 Mock Feature Red

AirPods Pro 2 Could Start a New Accessory Ecosystem

Friday January 14, 2022 2:34 am PST by
Apple's second-generation AirPods Pro could arrive alongside a new series of accessories, recent leaked images suggest. Alleged leaked photos of the next-generation AirPods Pro obtained by MacRumors showed a charging case with a metal loop on the side for attaching a strap. Apple has not used this design for any of its other AirPod models and it is unclear why it would be added in this...
netflix2

Netflix Again Raises Prices for All Plans, 4K Streaming Now $20 Per Month

Friday January 14, 2022 12:46 pm PST by
Netflix today updated the prices for its streaming plans, and all of its offerings are now more expensive. The Basic plan is now priced at $9.99 per month, the Standard plan is priced at $15.49 per month, and the Premium plan is priced at $19.99 per month. The Basic plan is $1 more expensive, up from $8.99 per month. This plan allows users to watch on just one screen at a time, and it limits ...
tesla carplay solution

Developer Showcases Apple CarPlay Workaround for Teslas

Monday January 17, 2022 7:24 am PST by
A Tesla Model 3 owner has resorted to a workaround to implement Apple CarPlay in his vehicle, amid no sign of official support from Tesla (via Tesla North). Apple CarPlay and Apple Music support are among the most-requested Tesla features, but with no indication that Tesla is willing to implement Apple CarPlay in its vehicles, Polish developer Michał Gapiński took matters into his own...
top stories 20220115

Top Stories: iPhone 14 Pro Rumors, iCloud Private Relay Controversy, iOS 15.2.1 Released, and More

Saturday January 15, 2022 6:00 am PST by
Hole-punch? Pill? Hole-punch and pill? Rumors about what the front camera system on the iPhone 14 Pro will look like are evolving rapidly, and it now appears we might be getting a novel but potentially controversial design later this year. Other major stories this week included some confusion and controversy about iCloud Private Relay being disabled for some T-Mobile customers, increasing...