Whatever government concerns are swirling around, Apple has reportedly given the incompatibility of business models as its reason for turning down Softbank.
Meanwhile Nvidia has reportedly approached Softbank seeking to acquire ARM. Nvidia, a leading GPU vendor, has successfully leveraged that skill into supplying engines for artificial intelligence software in data centers, although it is also clear that architectures for AI are in a state of flux. The architectures of choice for artificial intelligence processing is likely to be the defining battleground for the next decade. Nvidia's success has boosted its market capitalization to more than $250 billion (see TSMC becomes world's biggest chip company), giving it the financial muscle and the incentive to acquire ARM.
But while Nvidia may be keen, an ARM acquisition would hit the same business model problem that an Apple acquisition would. It would set Nvidia supplying most of the leading chip companies with intellectual property while also seeking to compete with many of them. This could also upset antitrust authorities and any such multibillion dollar deal is bound to take some time to complete.
And then there is the observation that a certain key individual has joined the board of directors of Softbank Group.
Lip-Bu Tan, founder and chairman of venture capital company Walden International, has been CEO of Cadence Design Systems Inc. (San Jose, Calif.) since 2009. Tan joined the board of Softbank Group in May 2020.
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