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Microsoft, Google, and Qualcomm complain to US antitrust regulators regarding NVIDIA's purchase of Arm

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What you need to know

  • Microsoft, Google, and Qualcomm have complained to U.S. antitrust regulators regarding NVIDIA's acquisition of Arm Ltd.
  • The companies argue that the acquisition will harm competition.
  • At least one complaining company wants the deal ended.

Microsoft, Google, and Qualcomm are among major tech companies that have complained to U.S. antitrust regulators regarding NVIDIA's acquisition of Arm Ltd. Bloomberg reports that at least once complaining company wants the deal killed, though it did not specify which. The concern from the tech giants is that NVIDIA purchasing Arm will hurt competition.

Microsoft, Google, and Qualcomm are asking antitrust officials to intervene with the deal, according to sources that spoke with Bloomberg that have asked to not be identified because they aren't authorized to speak on the subject publicly.

NVIDIA officially started to acquire Arm limited in September 2020, though rumors of a potential deal started in July 2020. The deal price was valued at $40 billion and was announced by NVIDIA (opens in new tab).

Arm licenses out its chip designs and software to several major tech companies, including Apple, Intel, Samsung Electronics, Amazon, and many others. You've likely used one of their chips on a phone, tablet, or PC at some point. Bloomberg calls Arm the "Switzerland of the industry" and highlights the concern that NVIDIA owning Arm could limit access to chips for rival companies.

According to Bloomberg, NVIDIA claims that there isn't any incentive to change the neutrality of Arm. The company cites the purchase price of Arm as a reason to not change what's working, but Bloomberg states that rival companies and many people don't believe that to be the case.

This is a breaking news story, so more details regarding the complaint are likely to emerge.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).

10 Comments
  • UK government are looking into it too
  • I would have to agree with these companies and say that NVIDIA's purchase of ARM is probably not in all of our best interest.
  • No silicon or IT company should be able to purchase control of the design of SoCs upon which many devices depend on. It must always be an impartial intermediary to ensure a level playing field.
  • Qualcomm complaining about anti-trust violations is amusing.
    Though they're not wrong, Nvidia owning this is kind of concerning. However, having heard Jensen (NVIDIA CEO) speak about product development and acquisitions, he very much believes that if you see a product doing something better than you can do in-house, just buy the product, don't bother wasting time. So if they claim they bought ARM because the way it works is better than them doing their own thing, I could see that being truthful (at least in the short term).
    But since Intel controlled x86 licensing for years, to my knowledge, until patent terms and stuff expired, I wonder how that would affect how this ARM deal is viewed. And if you don't want an ARM design, but you want to use the ARM instruction set, I don't know how licensing works for that. Since all you're doing is using the instructions, similar to an API. (Though Oracle is currently suing Google in the Supreme Court over that, which could drastically change everything). I could be completely wrong about all of the above though. The legal world is very convoluted and confusing.
    And there's always RISC-V, free and open source afaik, though likely more limited now than ARM64 just because of lack of interest.
  • If they didn't buy it some other company would so just leave it, just becuse they did it before other big company's and then complaining about it.. This maybe force companies to find a better solution and stronger solution.
  • @Kristian Hansson this allows Nvidia to have a monopoly and allows Nvidia to engage in back handed anti competitive practises. Just take a look how they are squeezing their AIB gpu partners for example.
  • I mean, if ATI buying Radeon was acceptable, then why wouldn't this be?
  • Do you talk about AMD buying ATI ?
    Both were in different sectors, not leaders, and not licensing their design to other companies.
  • Sorry, yeah, AMD buying ATI, got my initialisms back to front.
  • let's do the hypothetical and says X86 designs are handled similarly to ARM. the company behind X86 then sells x86 to Intel, AMD, etc. and then AMD decides to buy that company. you can imagine all the other companies making x86 howling now that AMD is in control of their fates.