ARM buyout: EU could force NVIDIA to make more compromises

Announced more than a year ago, the plan to buy ARM by Nvidia is being closely scrutinized, especially in Europe, by regulators. We learn today from Reuters that the Californian giant could be forced to more concessions if it really wants to buy the British designer of micro-architectures.

The takeover of ARM by Nvidia is still far from being assured, the EU is watching ...

The takeover of ARM by Nvidia is still far from being assured, the EU is watching… // Source: Nvidia

Putting $ 54 billion on the table is not enough to automatically assure Nvidia the takeover of ARM. The firm must first show a white paw to regulators, but also to other industry players (all or almost all ARM customers), who fear that the American giant will take advantage of this acquisition to abuse what could become a dominant position in the market. As a reminder, the English ARM is at the origin of the micro-architecture of the same name, used under license by Apple, Google, Qualcomm, Samsung, or even MediaTek for a wide variety of mobile processors.

These big names in the industry are being consulted as part of a preliminary investigation opened several months ago by the European Commission. The latter has a dual objective: it must determine whether or not the takeover of ARM by Nvidia would hamper healthy competition, but also aims to bring Nvidia into the field of compromises to reassure the other tech giants.

Nvidia VS the European Commission: rebel?

However, if the conclusions of the EU preliminary investigation are expected on October 27, sources familiar with the matter interviewed by Reuters suggest that the commitments currently made by Nvidia would not be enough to appease Apple, Google, Qualcomm and consorts.

Qualcomm's Snapdragon 888, like so many others, is based on technologies developed by Britain's ARM ...

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888, like so many others, is based on technologies developed by Britain’s ARM… // Source: Qualcomm

According to the British press agency, Nvidia would have for the time being mostly contented itself with promising that ARM would remain a “neutral” player within the industry… obviously without going much further. In this mainly declarative context, the European Commission would not have even considered it useful to ask the opinion of Nvidia’s competitors on these « concessions ». EU regulators would therefore have, according to people interviewed by Reuters, felt that they were not sufficient.

For Nvidia, this means that the investigation launched by the European Union is likely to be repeated. As Reuters points out, this would be another setback for the group which also faces British regulators. And in this case the latter take a very dim view of the plan to buy ARM, bluntly believing that the operation could harm competition and weaken the brand’s rivals to the chameleon.

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