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.

Popular Stories

iPhone 16 Pro Max Generic Feature 2

5 Biggest Changes Rumored for iPhone 16 Pro Max

Tuesday May 21, 2024 7:29 am PDT by
Given Apple's rumored plan to add an all-new high-end tier to its iPhone 17 series in 2025, this could be the year for Apple to bring its boldest "Pro Max" model to the table — the kind of iPhone 16 upgrade that stands tall above its siblings, both figuratively and literally. If you have been holding out for the iPhone 16 Pro Max, here are five of the biggest changes rumored to be coming...
iOS 17

Apple Releases iOS 17.5.1 With Fix for Reappearing Photos Bug

Monday May 20, 2024 10:11 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS 17.5.1 and iPadOS 17.5.1, minor updates to the iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 operating system updates that came out last September. The 17.5.1 updates come a week after the launch of iOS 17.5 and iPadOS 17.5. iOS 17.5.1 and iPadOS 17.5.1 can be downloaded on eligible iPhones and iPads over-the-air by going to Settings > General > Software Update. According to Apple's...
maxresdefault

iPhone SE 4 With Face ID Said to Be Priced Below $500

Monday May 20, 2024 3:43 am PDT by
Apple is targeting a sub-$500 starting price for its upcoming fourth-generation iPhone SE model despite a raft of rumored upgrades coming to the more affordable device. According to leaker Revegnus on X, the U.S. launch price of the fourth-generation iPhone SE will either remain at the same $429 starting price as the current model, or will see an increase of around 10%. Either way, Apple's...
microsoft surface pro qualcomm

Microsoft Says New Surface Pro is Faster Than 15" M3 MacBook Air

Monday May 20, 2024 3:19 pm PDT by
Microsoft is going all in on AI, today introducing a series of Copilot+ PCs that have AI-focused hardware. The new Surface Pro is one of the first Copilot+ PCs, equipped with Qualcomm's Arm-based Snapdragon X Elite processor. Microsoft is already pitting the Surface Pro against Apple's M3 MacBook Air, and in marketing materials, claims that the Surface Pro has superior processing power and...
iPhone 15 Pro Cameras

iPhone 16 Pro Max to Feature New 48MP Wide and Ultra Wide Cameras

Tuesday May 21, 2024 3:36 am PDT by
Apple's iPhone 16 Pro Max will boast a bigger main camera sensor while both iPhone 16 Pro models will feature a 48-megapixel Ultra Wide camera for the first time, claims a rumor coming out of Asia. According to Weibo user OvO Baby Sauce OvO, the main camera of the iPhone 16 Pro Max will be based on an advanced custom 48-megapixel Sony IMX903 sensor. In contrast, the iPhone 16 Pro will use...

Top Rated Comments

Apple_Robert Avatar
43 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
43 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
43 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
43 months ago

Nice! That’s awesome.
What exactly is "awesome" about this?
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
itsmeaustend Avatar
43 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
43 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)