Monday, August 31, 2020

Cambridge Tech Grandee Hermann Hauser Says Selling ARM to Nvidia Would Be a Disaster

Dr. Hauser is one of the poobahs of BritTech and was part of the team that spun ARM out of Acorn Computers in 1990.
From The Cambridge Independent, August 27:

Hermann Hauser: Three reasons why the sale of Arm to Nvidia would be a disaster
Hermann Hauser has said the potential sale of Arm Holdings to Nvidia would be a disaster for Cambridge and the UK - and would fuel the trade war between the US and China.
He has called on the UK government to intervene and revealed that he had spoken to the London Stock Exchange about the idea of taking Arm public.

Talking to the Cambridge Independent from his farm in New Zealand, where he spends the UK winters and has remained during the coronavirus pandemic, Dr Hauser said the country’s technology sovereignty is at stake in the proposed deal.

It was in 1990 that he spun out the Cambridge-based chip designer from Acorn.
Today, the company is behind the technology used in virtually all smartphones.
It was acquired in 2016 for $32billion by Japanese conglomerate Softbank, which posted a $12.7billion loss for the year ending March 31 - its first loss in 15 years.

Softbank is understood to be in talks about selling on Arm to US-based Nvidia , which last month took over Intel as the world’s most valuable chip company - and now boasts a market capitalisation that has soared over £300billion.

“It will be a disaster for three main reasons,” said Dr Hauser. “The most pertinent to Cambridge is the job losses that will inevitably go with moving headquarters to Silicon Valley.
“Nvidia, of course, bought Icera from Bristol in 2011 and there were about 300-plus people.”

That $367million acquisition was intended to help Nvidia engage with the smartphone revolution. Instead, the company announced it was closing down Icera in 2015.

“I wouldn’t expect Nvidia to sack all Arm people, but if the centre of gravity moves to Silicon Valley, inevitably Cambridge will reduce in importance, and there are good designers in Silicon Valley too. That’s the first problem....

As mentioned a few times over the years, Her Majesty should have put the Royal foot down and quashed the sale to SoftBank. Here's 2019's:
"SoftBank mulls IPO of $100 billion Vision Fund"
Crap. As we've said on these pages a few times, a cash crunch to force the re-listing of ARM Holdings would have been nice....
....The RCEWA should have figured out how to designate ARM as an Object of Cultural Interest pursuant to the 2002 Export Control Act.
Or something.
Oh well, the RCEWA did keep T.L Lawrence's dagger in British Hands.
And previously on the idea of ARM going to NVIDIA, August 11's: "Nvidia Buying Arm Would be Reckless" has a few links including two from the electrical engineering types at EE Times.