FTC launches lawsuit to block Nvidia’s ‘anticompetitive’ Arm acquisition

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The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has sued to block the acquisition of Nvidia’s $40bn arm over concerns that the combined firm will affect competition as well as innovation in the global chip market.

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The agency argues that the proposed vertical deal would give Nvidia control over the computing technology and design that rival firms rely on to develop their own competing chips.

The FTC’s complaint goes even further, as it alleges that the combined firm will have both the means and the incentive to suppress “the latest next-generation technologies,” such as those used to run datacenters, as well as Driver-assistance systems used in cars.


The director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition, Holly Vedova, provided further information on the agency’s lawsuit in a press release, saying:

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“The FTC is suing to block the largest semiconductor chip merger in history to prevent one chip conglomerate from stifling the innovation pipeline for next-generation technologies. The technologies of tomorrow can preserve today’s competitive, cutting-edge chip markets. The proposed deal would distort Arm’s incentives in the chip markets and allow the combined firm to unfairly undermine Nvidia’s rivals. The FTC’s lawsuit should send a strong signal that we’re going to be critical of our critical infrastructure. Will act aggressively to protect markets from illegal vertical mergers, which have far-reaching and detrimental effects on future innovations.

intense competition

Unlike Nvidia, which develops and manufactures its own chips for GPU, data center and computer-assisted driving, SoftBank-owned and UK-based Arm does not supply or market ready chips or devices.

Instead, Arm builds and licenses microprocessor designs and architectures for other technology companies, including Nvidia as well as its rivals. Chips created using its designs are found in a wide variety of modern computing devices, from smartphones to tablets, from driver-assistance systems to servers in large datacenters.

Because Arm’s technology enables competition between Nvidia and its competitors in multiple markets, the FTC’s compliance alleges that the proposed merger would allow Nvidia to use its control of the technology to undermine its competitors and reduce competition. which will ultimately lead to lower product quality, higher prices and fewer options. However, the FTC’s reason for getting involved is because it believes the merger will hurt the millions of Americans who benefit from Arm-based products.

We’ll have to see how the lawsuit pans out, but the proposed deal has faced scrutiny from UK competition watchdogs as well as rival chip maker Qualcomm.

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