Economic nationalism Ahoy!

Some things feel like they go on forever: a series of Strictly Come Dancing; the morning commute; Cop26; but surely nothing has dragged on as long as the protracted takeover of British chip champion Arm.

Still, after something like 15 months of trying, a possible end to the saga is in sight, though not the one that Arm’s dogged American suitor Nvidia envisaged.

This was a transatlantic merger that we were promised would deliver “tremendous benefits for both companies, customers, and the industry”.

However, the decision of the Culture Secretary, Nadine Dorries, to launch a full-blown competition and national security investigation into the deal may deliver something else entirely: the fatal blow to Nvidia’s ambitions, and rightly so.

Regression to that white hot heat of technology plus a little Englander nationalism isn’t an advance in economic thinking.

The other way of putting this is that a Japanese company selling an asset to an American one has fuck all to do with the British government. Or at least should….

9 thoughts on “Economic nationalism Ahoy!”

  1. Any one else reckon we’re reaching some sort of global Peak for intellectual lightweights & incompetents? The only real adult in the room seems to be Vladimir. Perhaps Pooh Bear over in China.

  2. ARM will sell chip IP to all comers, and the SoftBank deal didn’t change that. I dunno whether SoftBank gave any guarantees to anyone about that but that was the outcome. Nvidia have a reputation of jealously guarding their IP and the concern is that ARM would selectively disappear behind that IP wall. That may or may not have national security implications but it would certainly have economic implications.
    ARM CPUs are by far the largest number on the planet given all the mobile phones and other embedded devices around everywhere and if it became Nvidia only then the ‘market’ solution of new upstarts meets the resistance of an incumbent behemoth.
    Having said that, there is RISC-V, an open-source CPU architecture, on the horizon but that is early days and may stay niche anyway.

  3. @TractorGent hits the nail on the head: ARM’s effective monopoly is based on it not competing with it’s customers. Any investor worth their salt would know this

  4. The only real adult in the room seems to be Vladimir. Perhaps Pooh Bear over in China.

    Not sure about that. Plenty of ruthlessness and low cunning, but not intellectual heavyweights. I had the misfortune to read a translation of one of Chairman Pooh’s speeches recently. So close to parody I was expecting to see references to bumper tractor production.

  5. Oh, I’d certainly score Vlad for ruthlessness & low cunning. But they’re the entry tickets for the environment he operates in. Don’t suppose he’d qualify for election as a UK MP. Does he speak english? Although that’s hardly been a requirement for some time. Definitely not POTUS. Pity really.

  6. @BiS I have a suspicion Vlad is pretty well versed in english, and as well versed in pretending he isn’t.

    All things indicate he has read and understood the 101 rules for being an Evil Overlord.

  7. Similar to when Fairchild Semiconductor, the original Silicon Valley tech firm, was to be sold to Fujitsu. Outcry! Foreigners shouldn’t be allowed to buy firms that sell chips to the U.S. military.

    Of course, Fairchild was, at the time, owned by Schlumberger Limited of France.

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