back to article Nvidia promises British authorities it won’t strong Arm rivals after proposed merger

The UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published Nvidia and Arm's responses to its renewed probing of the proposed takeover of Arm by Nvidia. Unsurprisingly, Nvidia rejects that it would block access to Arm's intellectual property from competitors, and the pair claim that the alternative scenario of Arm spun-off …

  1. werdsmith Silver badge

    In other news, Kraft promises it will keep Cadbury confectionary manufacturing in the UK.

    "but it wasn't us, it was Mondelez that shut down the Keynsham factory to move production to Eastern Europe...."

    1. jmch Silver badge

      "Nvidia promises British authorities it won’t strong Arm rivals after proposed merger"

      Those promises are worth nothing unless tehy are contractually binding and suitably punitive penalties for non-compliance are included

      1. Tom Chiverton 1

        "this new chip from ARM isn't an ARM chip, it's a nArm, and so only Nvida has a license for it."

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Place your chips now. The only thing Nvidia need to solve this...

      Is the sort code and account number for a certain political party's fund raising account. Are they really that naive?

      I'll give Nvidia a helping hand:

    3. Nonymous Crowd Nerd

      As Kraft / Cadbury eloquently proved

      The only answer is to forbid this merger / takeover completely, without delay and without any leave to appeal to any alternative trade body anywhere.

  2. 45RPM Silver badge

    With the corrupt clowns we currently have in charge, all Nvidia needs to do is grease the right palms and the deal will go through without a hitch.

    For all that the Conservative party has a reputation for fiscal prudence and business friendly policy, never forget that their first duty is to fill their pockets and get their grubby snouts in the trough.

    You want evidence? Look at the bastions of British Industry. Look at when they got sold - and, critically, to whom. You can be absolutely sure that the Tories have no interest in the greater good - and if you doubt what I say then perhaps I could interest you in a bridge in our capital city? I have the paperwork right here - all you need to do is transfer the funds into my account. In advance, of course.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      But you have to make a show of standing upto them before they donate a few million quid and Jenson gets made Tory party chairman

    2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      On the other hand ...

      Back when Labour were in power they did not appear to understand the value of what they were selling and sold out for far less than it would take to convince a conservative.

      1. 45RPM Silver badge

        Re: On the other hand ...

        Tell you what, you list the top tier companies that Labour sold and I’ll list the ones that the Tories sold and I guarantee that my list will be longer. That isn’t to say that Labour didn’t sell off either, but the Tories a) sold off more and b) were more inclined to sell outside the protection of Europe (and then c) evict us from Europe)

        So yes, Labour were sadly not above graffitiing on the walls of our metaphorical house. The Conversatives smashed the furniture and then burned the house down.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: On the other hand ...

          Neither the Labour party, nor the Conservative party sold any "top tier" companies. They have history starting in the 1980s of privatising utilities and other businesses that had been nationalised, but these "top tiers" you refer to are private companies or with publicly listed stock available and trade themselves only with governments looking over their shoulders.

          1. 45RPM Silver badge

            Re: On the other hand ...

            Absolutely correct. And I was very sloppy in my use of language. I hope it was clear though that was I meant was that they didn’t ensure these companies were sufficiently protected against hostile takeover, and they made no effort to block sales which weren’t in the national interest.

            Nevertheless, thumbs up for pointing out my poor use of language.

            1. Tilda Rice

              Re: On the other hand ...

              Good grief. Have a lie down 45. Turning everything you see into something that needs viewing through a political lens makes you as daft as the BBC.

        2. hoola Silver badge

          Re: On the other hand ...

          They did not "sell" them.

          All these companies either pimped themselves out or were subject to hostile takeovers.

          I most cases the pressure was to deliver "shareholder value" because in this country we are incapable of taking a long-term view that investments are longer than a few days.

          Where things failed was that when the MC investigated, they invariably caved in or the Government (Trade & Industry Secretary) was utterly incompetent in realising that the deal was bad:

          for British Interests.

          British jobs.

          Long-term strategic planning.




          The list goes on

          Then you have the likes of GKN (a highly successful company) being forced by shareholders to split themselves up so that said shareholders can syphon money out.

    3. Tams

      In a way, thankfully, the Conservatives have little control over this after Softbank bought Arm (another story of woe).

      And the UK regulatory, will important to this, is the small fry against this. The US and EU regulators also have their guns firmly aimed at this deal.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Prudence, what prudence?

      "the Conservative party has a reputation for fiscal prudence"

      Presumably Boris Johnson told you that. He never lies.

      The national debt was around £1T when that useless twat Brown left Downing Street. This was after the bank bail-out. The national debit is now sitting at £2.5T or theresabouts. Inflation's at levels not seen since the 1980s. Johnson's clown parade has also pissed away zillions of public money to their cronies for overpriced and sometimes defective PPE. And paid Deloittes - well known for their expertise in containing pandemics - over a grand a day for call centre droids who had fuck all to do.


      1. Dave 15

        Re: Prudence, what prudence?

        wouldnt be so bad but those thousand a day call centre droids were all in India, not even employing British workers. But that sort of decision is made by civil servants, they HATE the UK and are the people behind the duff decisions by BOTH Labour and Conservative governments.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Prudence, what prudence?

          Your problem is that you haven't completed the outsourcing properly.

          Outsource the MPs to India.

          The new MPs in India will of course think it's a good idea to outsource jobs to a foreign country where enough people speak something that passes as english, say, the UK.

          And Voila! (outsource your vocabulary to France) you have your jobs back.

  3. oldtaku Silver badge
    Thumb Down


    You can trust them as much as Facebook

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Uh-huh. Yeah. Right.

    Dear UK Regulators:

    Wanna know what will happen to ARM if you allow NVIDIA to gobble it? Look no further than what happened to Sun Microsystems when Oracle gobbled it. That's the model.

    If that's what you're aiming for, go right ahead and bless this corporate marriage. If not, well, you know what to do.

    1. MyffyW Silver badge

      Re: Uh-huh. Yeah. Right.

      Or Rover Group when sold to BAe, then BMW

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Uh-huh. Yeah. Right.

        Actually, quite surprised, that a consortium of car companies aren't interested in obtaining ARM.

    2. Dave 15

      Re: Uh-huh. Yeah. Right.

      Microsoft purchased 5 Cambridge companies the year they bought STNC. We were the last to be closed 2 years later. This is a common approach particularly from US companies, buy up the competition, extract the IP and the most important people and close the rest down. If Nvidia takes ARM then the whole Cambridge site will be shut within 5 years. It is the same as when we allowed BMW to buy Rover. The same is on the cards for Rolls Royce (its now just a BMW body with BMW running gear and BMW computers and a plank of wood nailed in by a Brit... the plank of wood will shortly be German and put in by a German and then the only thing about a Roller that is a Roller will be the name

  5. Tim99 Silver badge


    That's all right - It will only be the little people who pay (indirectly). Privatize the commons, subsidize business.

  6. uro

    If the regulators want to know how Nvidia operate they just need to look at the past two decades of Nvidia selling GPUs to consumers, they have bought up competing companies and done very little with those technologies in order to control & manipulate the graphics market.

    Much in the same way that other big-tech giants (google, facebook, et al) have bought out competing platforms & technology - not to push technology forward nor to give consumers more choice - but to ensure they remain on top of the pile and their vast revenue streams are protected - protected because they eliminated all of their competition and the regulators sat back and watched them do it.

    For generation after generation of graphics cards Nvidia have raised MSRP prices for very little performance gains, more recently they have started pushing software gimmicks in leau of advancement in graphics technology - you just need to view their CES presentations to see that, there's been very little advancement on the hardware front year after year.

    Their latest upcoming GPU release, the RTX 3080 12GB does not even come with an MSRP, this is a deliberate strategic move by Nvidia to use the current sustained trend of middlemen and scalpers to push prices of consumer graphics cards skywards which will result in an "unofficial MSRP".

    This will have the effect of making Nvidia look justified when it's next series, the 40x0 series, will come to market with 4080 GPU SKUs having an MSRP starting at over $1000 - giving middelment & scalpers the scope to further push consumer prices up far above the massively inflated prices they are at right now.

    We're fast heading towards a place where mid-range graphics cards, which is what the x080 sku's are & are worth no more than $400-$500 in real hardware costs, come to market with MSRPs of more than 2x-3x the actual value of the hardware.

    For the CMA & other regulators to assume that Nvidia will not use these same strategic tactics to control the entire Arm ecosystem by steering the Arm IP in a direction which Nvidia wants and not what Arm's licensees request & require as well as massively driving up licensing costs while doing so - increases which Nvidia will shoehorn in after this merger goes through and a practice which they have historically done throughout their history as a company - is putting blind faith in a company that time after time very publicly demonstrates that it is only interested in controlling and manipulating the technology sector to feed its own comporate greed, not for the advancement of technology in itself and certainly not to the benefit of the licensees nor the end-user consumers of products created with Arm IP.

    1. Tams

      Nvidia are one the scummiest of the massive companies. They just do it quietly.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        They are second to Intel when talking about hardware producing companies.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I still don't understand why nvida actually want to *buy* ARM. They already have the option of licensing and using any of ARMs designs, including the ability to negotiate to modify and extend them. They already have in house silicon design capabilities. A group of academics and uni students designed RISC-V and it's fully open and published ffs. Designing a new RISC architecture would be a piece of pants for them. So what, *exactly* is the benefit they get from *owning* ARM? Cui bono?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Think of all those mobile phones devices using Arm and the sheer number who own licences, nvidia could simply say "oh yeah, you can keep your arm licence but you'll now need to purchase nvidia gpu's for those arm licences"

    2. Aitor 1

      The new Intel

      Nvidia wants to corner the market.

      The shift to ARM is obvious, and most portable devices seem to be going towards ARM.

      The GPU market is essentially owned by Nvidia, at least mid market upwards except consoles, that is owned by AMD on value, but Nvidia is behind the switch (it essentially is an Nvidia design).

      Whoever owns arm looks like will be in control of the the computer market in the future.. that is why they want to own it.

    3. Dave 15

      They want to buy ARM because ARM makes a lot of money and if they can buy ARM they can close ARM and take the money themselves. Americans are not and have never been anything but greedy. They didnt help the UK in WW1 and WW2 to be helpful but rather because we would pay the most and had the most money for them to take. They claim to hate empires yet they are the ones who took the empires money and live off it.

  8. Filippo Silver badge

    "Nvidia rejects that it would block access to Arm's intellectual property from competitors"

    Are they willing to have that in a very, very binding contract? One that won't expire and will remain in force regardless of companies changing name or being sold and moved around?

    I'm not even sure that's technically possible, but the point is - promises and reassurances are worthless. Even if they were made in good faith (yeah), ownership can change, circumstances can change. You can't make long-term policy on promises and reassurances.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It could just apply to current designs too, everything going forward under new terms.

  9. Electronics'R'Us

    This is interesting

    This reasoning is based on the contention that there is little overlap between Arm and Nvidia, and therefore their respective businesses are complementary and relate to different areas of the semiconductor value chain.

    If there is little overlap then how does the deal make any sense at all? Normally a merger / buyout / whatever needs to leverage shared resources for the value of the new company to be greater than each separately and according to their own view that cannot be achieved.

    More snake oil, methinks.

  10. naive

    Toyota buys Bosch

    There is little overlap, since Toyota doesn't make spark plugs.

    Toyota promises not to hike prices for other car manufacturers or withhold innovations from them to gain a competitive edge.

  11. Binraider Silver badge

    How is NVidia ownership any different to SoftBank ownership in this regard. Potty. The CMA is perhaps, just trying to make itself still seem relevant in my opinion.

    There are ample examples of their failings (by design, by limiting their power) already out there to know this is essentially just bureaucracy for the sake of it.

    Let them buy it and get it back into the hands of an outfit that will do something with it.

    1. Tams

      I'm onto you

      Do you happen to have a penchant for leather jackets, by any chance?

      1. Binraider Silver badge

        Re: I'm onto you

        Don't understand the reference, sorry.

        1. Tams

          Re: I'm onto you

          Come on Jensen, don't be coy!

  12. spireite Silver badge

    That may be true, but as the market of the rivals shrink..... their own chips will start to cost a Leg (tm)

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It will be all about bundles

    You want to license the latest power Arm core? Well it's only available with this GPU core license. Want to license this medium performance coe, it's bundled, you need to license this AI IP too. You will have to license stuff you don't want or need which also means as you paid for Nvidia gpu IP you won't license a Qualcomm GPU block. Nvidia turnover goes up, competitors goes down.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It will be all about bundles

      It's licence. In the civilised world, license is a verb.

  14. 3arn0wl

    It doesn't matter

    ARM's been irrevocably compromised with the arrival of RISC-V.

    RISC-V's already eating into the microcontroller market, and it doesn't look like it's going to be long before it delivers APU level processors for the rest of ARM's market.

    Arm's heydays are behind it.

  15. bazza Silver badge

    It seems Nvidia and Arm are not best pleased with the situation, and warned that while they are tied up dealing with regulators, Arm's competitors are not just sitting still but also expanding their offerings and exploiting the uncertainty surrounding Arm's future.

    Er, who are they trying to kid?

    First rule of any merger of this magnitude is that you keep conducting business as if the merger won't happen, in case it doesn't.

    And I'm sure that it's not ARM's engineers and product developers who are dealing with the regulators, so they ought to be able to carry on as usual.

    1. 3arn0wl

      Er, who are they trying to kid?

      With the latest 15 extensions ratified, the RISC-V construct is now at the point of maturity where everything needed to build processors at all levels is available.

      The whole industry (from Intel and Apple down) is scrutinising the ISA closely at the moment to see if, in reality, it can do all that they need it to do. Given that the RISC-V Foundation membership grew by 133% in 2021 : the impression given is that they think it can. This is a body blow to Arm.

      Obviously there's still a lot of work to be done in bringing APU processors up to the latest ARM offerings, and also in porting software, but China in particular - thanks to POTUS45 - seems keen to do it.

      Arm is also correct in thinking that a public share offering will diminish them : they know that ARM is not worth anywhere near US$40B. They've also seen, during their recent time at Softbank, that the returns won't make investors happy. Maybe Qualcomm's idea of Interested Parties - MediaTek, Samsung, Apple et al - clubbing together to maintain Arm is a better solution. I don't know.

  16. Dave 15

    Take ARM into public ownership, tell nvidia to go sew some roses

    ARM should be considered strategically important for the UK. They should not just produce IP designs but also be making the chips used in UK military and government machines and projects.

    As a temporary measure the company should be taken back by HMG - it should never have been allowed to be sold. It should NOT under ANY circumstances EVER be allowed to merge with ANYTHING from USA (I would rather it merged with Russia!) The USA government has shafted us once yet again over Steel and Aluminium tariffs and we should tell the yanks and everything to do with them to sod off and never darken our doors for any reason ever again!

    We need our own chip fabrication, mother board and computer makers (Raspberry Pi is a good start, only a start, we once led the world!) and we need it strategically RIGHT NOW. We cant have the yanks spying on us and controlling everything we do. Hell we should restart Symbian as well so we have an operating system and applications not under US control as well.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Take ARM into public ownership, tell nvidia to go sew some roses

      Meanwhile, back in the REAL world ...

    2. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: Take ARM into public ownership, tell nvidia to go sew some roses

      What in the world makes you think the UK/GB is in any position to go strategically independent? Or that ARM is actually strategically important to the UK/GB?

    3. 3arn0wl

      Re: Take ARM into public ownership, tell nvidia to go sew some roses

      Arm's been an international concern from its inception!

      - Hermann Hauser's Austrian,

      - RISC was an idea nicked from universities in the States, and

      - Apple put in US$3M when Acorn became Arm (VLSI is an American company).

      The talent pool working on/with ARM are among the best tech minds of the generation from around the globe.

      The ARM ISA is not strategically important to the UK. Nor is it a matter of national security, as has been argued, so far as I can see.

      I agree with you on one thing though - the UK ought to be expanding its fabricating facilities... and not selling off those we have, as has recently happened.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Take ARM into public ownership, tell nvidia to go sew some roses

      Your tinfoil hat clearly isn't working.

  17. Barking House

    I see what you did there - StrongArm

    When ARM was still British owned and still building its momentum there was of course the partnership with DEC - StrongArm

  18. Alan Brown Silver badge

    That's the same Nvidia....

    ...which ripped Broadcom switch chipset support out of Cumulus Linux as soon as it purchased it?

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