To dispel all speculation, NVIDIA has finally announced that it will make an official offer to acquire Arm Limited from SoftBank. While the final say will be with regulators, it would mean that NVIDIA could soon own the intellectual property that pretty much powers the world’s smartphones, cars, and many embedded devices. This raises concerns about NVIDIA’s impact on such an IP, and the computer graphics technology giant promises that it will continue as normal in terms of licensing business.
NVIDIA will purchase Arm Limited from SoftBank Group for a total of $ 40 billion, divided into shares and cash. This allows SoftBank to keep some control over arm’s direction, although less than 1
NVIDIA’s interest in Arm really comes as no surprise as it already uses Arm’s IP in many of its computing products, especially outside of the core computer graphics technology. NVIDIA has steadily grown its presence in the AI and machine learning industries, not to mention the automotive and IoT markets. Access to Arm’s ecosystem will undoubtedly give it an advantage, and NVIDIA promises to establish a new global center for outstanding AI research in Arm’s UK home country.
It also promises to continue Arm’s open licensing model and even add some of its own intellectual property to Arm’s offering to help customers out. That will, of course, be the biggest problem with this acquisition as it will put NVIDIA in a very favorable position to drive out the competition in the AI and automotive sectors.
Of course, it will still depend on regulatory approval. There are already some worrisome voices, but luckily Arm has grown too big for NVIDIA to simply close its doors. Unfortunately, Arm is also so large that it will be difficult for customers, developers, manufacturers, and competitors to move away in this case.