What you need to know
- Qualcomm has reportedly been in talks with regulators regarding NVIDIA's pending acquisition of Arm Ltd.
- It's believed that NVIDIA could keep others from using Arm's intellectual property.
- NVIDIA and Arm Ltd. announced the acquisition in September 2020 for a reported $40 million.
Last year, NVIDIA announced that it had reached a deal to purchase Arm Holdings from Softbank, which owns the company. The deal could represent a shift in the semiconductor business, one that Qualcomm is not too happy about according to recent reports.
Sources familiar with the matter told CNBC that Qualcomm has been speaking to regulators from the Federal Trade Commission, the European Commission, the UK's Competition and Markets Authority, and China's State Administration for Market Regulation regarding the deal. The chipmaker, which currently in the process of buying Nuvia, argues that the acquisition could give NVIDIA an unfair advantage and that it could withhold important intellectual property from companies that rely on Arm's technology.
Qualcomm isn't the only concerned party, with Graphcore CEO also expressing fear over the implications of the deal:
It risks closing down or limiting other companies' access to leading-edge CPU processor designs which are so important across the technology world, from data centers, to mobile, to cars, and in embedded devices of every kind.
Arm's architecture is widely used throughout the industry and is what Qualcomm's chips are built on, helping it to power the best Android phones in the industry. Its designs have been increasingly important to the future of computing, as seen by Microsoft and more recently Apple's investments in ARM-based processors to run their respective operating systems.
The acquisition of Arm Ltd. is currently under investigation by the FTC and is in its "second phase" to determine whether or not it can proceed, pending the involved parties provide additional information. NVIDIA has maintained that the deal will help Arm's licenses grow and is confident that the acquisition will be approved. If that happens, Qualcomm's concerns might not be the only reason why NVIDIA buying Arm could be a really bad idea.