The U.S. Federal Trade Commission sues Nvidia to block its historic transaction with Arm

Federal Trade The committee has sued to block Nvidia’s acquisition of the semiconductor design company Arm, saying the blockbuster deal would unfairly stifle competition.

“The Federal Trade Commission is suing to block the largest semiconductor chip merger in history to prevent chip conglomerates from stifling the innovation channels for next-generation technologies,” said Holly Widowah, the Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission’s Competition Bureau, in a statement. “The technology of the future depends on maintaining today’s highly competitive, cutting-edge chip market. This proposed transaction will distort Arm’s incentives in the chip market and allow the combined company to unfairly weaken Nvidia’s competitors.”

Nvidia First Announce Its acquisition intention arm September 2020. then, The deal is worth 40 billion U.S. dollars, But since then, Arm’s stock price has soared, and the cost of cash and stock transactions has risen to $75 billion. The FTC’s lawsuit may completely disrupt this transaction.

“As we move to the next step in the FTC process, we will continue to work hard to prove that this transaction will benefit the industry and promote competition,” an Nvidia spokesperson told Ars. “Nvidia is committed to maintaining Arm’s open licensing model and ensuring that its IP is available to all interested licensees, now and in the future.”

this Federal Trade Commission It is not the first government regulator to review this transaction. October, the European Union Announced that it was investigating the acquisition and last month British officials Expressed that they are worried that the merger will threaten competition and national security. Nvidia said that Chinese regulators are also investigating the transaction.

Much of the anxiety surrounding this acquisition stems from the fact that for most of its history, Arm has been a relatively neutral participant in the semiconductor field, and almost anyone willing to pay a license fee can access its knowledge property. In the complaint, the FTC called Arm the “Switzerland” of the semiconductor industry.Customers worry that Arm controlled by Nvidia will make them subject to competitors, and Regulators Worried that this acquisition may overturn the huge and thriving ecosystem that relies on this architecture.

Arm was originally a niche semiconductor designer, providing low power consumption Bargaining chip Suitable for embedded systems and portable devices, such as Apple Newton and Palm Pilot. Over the years, as the performance of ARM chips has improved and the importance of energy efficiency has increased, semiconductors have begun to enter a wider range of devices.

Today, Arm’s design and instruction set are widely used, appearing in all fields from mobile phones to servers, car airbag controllers and supercomputers. Recently, ARM chips have begun to enter the PC field, increasing the pressure on veteran Intel and AMD. Apple’s M1 chip Demonstrating the competitiveness of this architecture in x86 design, others have begun to follow suit.Earlier this week, Qualcomm announced a new Snapdragon processor called 8cx Gen 3, which will run a specific version of ARM Windows.

Because the ARM architecture is low-power and can be used by many different companies, these chips have taken over the entire industry. Last year, the company sold 25 billion ARM chips, more than four times more than in 2010.

Nvidia has also become an increasingly powerful player in the semiconductor field.Its graphics card became a key tool for machine learning and other artificial intelligence applications, and soon the company began selling High performance computing. Its mobile Tegra chip obtained Arm’s design license, which in the mid-2010s powered a series of smartphones and Tesla’s infotainment system, and now they run in Nintendo’s Switch.

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