The climate has radically changed.

The American competition authority (FTC) intends to prevent the acquisition by Nvidia of the British specialist in ARM microprocessors because the new firm would risk "to stifle all competition in new generation technologies," according to a statement released Thursday.

A month ago, the European Commission opened an investigation into this $ 40 billion takeover project for fear of the negative effects on prices and competition in this sector, which is currently experiencing a global shortage. The buyout operation was announced in September 2020 by the Japanese SoftBank, ARM's parent company, which had reached an agreement with the American Nvidia, champion of graphics cards.

The move "would give one of the biggest microchip companies control over the technologies and computer designs that rival firms depend on to develop their own components," argues the FTC.

The federal agency cites data centers (computer servers) and pARMi driver assistance systems as sectors that need advanced semiconductors and which it believes could suffer from a lack of competition.

Hardening against Big Tech

Its arguments are close to those of the European Union.

In mid-November, the British government also asked its competition authority to deepen its investigation into the project, citing potential obstacles to innovation, but also questions of national security.

The US government and elected officials have toughened their tones against big tech companies, regularly accused of abuse of dominance.

Their attacks usually focus on the giants on the country's west coast, from Google, Apple and Meta (Facebook) in Silicon Valley to Amazon in Seattle.

“The FTC lawsuits send a strong signal that we will act aggressively to protect our critical infrastructure from illegal vertical mergers that have serious and far-reaching consequences for future innovations,” commented Holly Vedova, Director at the competition antenna FTC.

The administrative hearing of this case should begin on May 10, 2022.

  • Competetion

  • High-Tech

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