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FTC obstructs NVIDIA's Arm acquisition with lawsuit

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti (Image credit: NVIDIA)

What you need to know

  • NVIDIA's Arm deal has been met with resistance and roadblocks from major players all around the world, including the UK and Chinese governments.
  • Many companies have cited concerns with the deal as well.
  • Now, the U.S.'s Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is suing to stop the merger.

NVIDIA's Arm acquisition efforts have seen no shortage of obstacles. A multitude of major nations have threatened to shutter the deal should they deem it too dangerous, and now, the FTC is concretely standing against it with a full-on lawsuit.

To set up the situation: NVIDIA has been trying to get this acquisition through the various pipelines it needs to go through since late 2020. It has had to survive obstacles such as European summer vacation, probes from both the EU and UK, and notoriously difficult Chinese regulatory bodies.

And now, in what one can only assume is a very large headache for NVIDIA, there's a full-on lawsuit from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. The FTC is suing to stop the NVIDIA-Arm merger, a move which can be seen via the official corresponding FTC documentation. FTC Bureau of Competition Director Holly Vedova said the following about the matter:

The FTC is suing to block the largest semiconductor chip merger in history to prevent a chip conglomerate from stifling the innovation pipeline for next-generation technologies. Tomorrow's technologies depend on preserving today's competitive, cutting-edge chip markets. This proposed deal would distort Arm's incentives in chip markets and allow the combined firm to unfairly undermine Nvidia's rivals. The FTC's lawsuit should send a strong signal that we will act aggressively to protect our critical infrastructure markets from illegal vertical mergers that have far-reaching and damaging effects on future innovations.

Will this be the final nail in an already troubled acquisition's coffin? Time will tell, as will the FTC.

Robert Carnevale is the News Editor for Windows Central. He's a big fan of Kinect (it lives on in his heart), Sonic the Hedgehog, and the legendary intersection of those two titans, Sonic Free Riders. He is the author of Cold War 2395. Have a useful tip? Send it to robert.carnevale@futurenet.com.

8 Comments
  • Yeah I hope this gets blocked as well.
  • I legit don't understand why this is bad but AMD acquiring ATI was fine.
  • I'm no expert and could be wrong but I imagine that it's because AMD and ATi both just made their own chips, while ARM provides the reference designs (or something like that) for many different chip manufacturers.
  • That and because NVIDIA has a 20+ year history of not playing well with other children. The OG XBOX was supposed to ship with ATI but Nvidia swooped in at tbe last minute to undercut them. And then as MS was looking to cost reduce the box they were...less than cooperative. MS lost a ton of money and has been with ATI/AMD ever since.
    (Also the OG XBOX BC program on XB1 was crippled because of NVIDIA patents until they expired.) They are not a well-loved company, they are not good partners, and looking to expand their power beyond their products to other industries. Specifically phones, tablets, IoT, servers...
    There is general queasiness over the idea of ARM behaving like NVIDIA. What goes around comes around.
  • @Sin Ogaris. It's Simple, ARM is a SoC designer. ATI was not, nor did several billion devices depend or use their designs. Furthermore, ATi was not a independent company upon which many companies depended on, it was a for profit driven company with products of their own for end users and consumers. ARM does not deal with the public nor do they sell consumer products. ARM's soc designs impact more than just mobile devices.
  • Good, no one wants Nvidea to prevent others from designing ARM based SoCs.
  • Correct.
    AMD, like ARM, licenses their tech to all comers. For example, MS, Sony, and Steam have all licensed AMD CPU and GPU tech and created their own specific implementation. NVIDIA (to my knowledge) have never licensed their tech.
    The expectation is that even if they allow ARM to keep licensing tech, they will reserve the newest and best designs for themselves. Under the theory that scorpions will always be scorpions.
  • it's better to open stocks on the stock exchange