US regulator expresses “concern” over marriage between Nvidia and Arm

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the competition law enforcement authority in the United States, continues its investigation into Nvidia’s acquisition of Britain’s Nugget Arm, a leader in mobile chip design. The regulator would have expressed “concerns”, according to the Financial Times, citing Nvidia who took the floor at the time of the presentation of its latest quarterly results.

Find common ground with the FTC

The company said it was in talks with the FTC to find “ways to address its concerns.” However, he refused to reveal the reasons for this decision and the concessions he offered in return.

The operation is also in the sights of the European Commission and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the British competition authority. The latter just opened an in-depth investigation on November 17, 2021. In both cases, Nvidia offered concessions in order to show its willingness to keep Arm as a “neutral” technology provider.

In fact, the British company’s designs are used by all processors on the market, be it those from Apple, Qualcomm, Mediatek, Samsung or Huawei. They are ubiquitous in smartphones, tablets, connected objects, and all specialized low-power equipment, but also in data centers.

A risk to competition according to Qualcomm, Microsoft and Google

Asked by the FTC, Qualcomm, Microsoft and Google expressed concern about the impact of the acquisition on competition. “We believe that there is a great risk that Nvidia will become the guardian of Arm’s technologies and prevent other chipmakers from using Arm’s intellectual property,” Qualcomm explained at the time. For their part, Google and Microsoft would work on their own chips based on Arm’s designs. A job that would become considerably more complicated if Nvidia forced Arm to change its policy on intellectual property licenses.

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