You might think that Nvidia, Intel, and AMD are all throaty, and if you look at their marketing, well, you’d be right to think that most of the time. But these are also companies that are very dependent on the technology of others, especially when it comes to complementary devices, such as gaming laptops and even supercomputers.
Watch CES 2022 and you’ll find plenty of laptops wielding an AMD processor alongside an Nvidia graphics processor or an Intel processor with an Nvidia graphics processor. Maybe even the odd AMD GPU in the mix. But what’s particularly fascinating is how Nvidia refers to this complementary relationship as one of the reasons it should be allowed to buy UK chipmaker Arm for $ 40 billion.
One of the main concerns raised against Nvidia’s Arm deal is that it would be detrimental to competition in chip manufacturing and design. This is referred to as the “ability to prohibit competition” in a recent document from Nvidia and Arm posted on the UK government website.
In some ways, this means the Nvidia and Arm deal is being scrutinized for its ability to impact major rivals from Nvidia, Intel, and AMD. And this is where things get interesting for us PC gamers, and surprisingly complementary for rivals from Nvidia.
“The ruling denigrates Intel, AMD and hundreds of RISC-V supporters as forever incapable of competing with Arm,” the argument reads.
“No industry observer can seriously say that Intel, AMD and Arm’s other competitors are so incapable that they cannot even compete with Arm. Intel and AMD are the industry leaders, not so backpackers. Nvidia chose x86 for its DGX and supercomputers for good reason. Intel’s and AMD’s processors aren’t going anywhere, and they’ll be competing with Arm for the foreseeable future. “
Nvidia relies on AMD’s x86 products for a number of its own, as it requires high performance CPU power and AMD’s EPYC chips provide it. Both companies rule the x86 perch, and it would really take a lot of CPU power, whether it came from Arm-based devices or whatever, to pull it off. It’s still weird to see Nvidia so glowing on paper.
In their arguments, Nvidia and Arm also point out how particularly strong Intel’s influence is and explain that there is no way to bring down Intel easily, even with their combined strength. They also offer harsh words to those who look to Nvidia’s rivals for their opinion on the Nvidia-Arm deal, and you’d expect no less.
“Antitrust law preserves competition – it does not give customers and competitors a veto over acquisitions. “
A hell of a thought from Jen-Hsun Huang’s side on AMD and Intel, then, but one that Nvidia must do seriously to have any chance of finalizing its Arm purchase. The company faces serious opposition to its deal with Arm, and proving that its combined mass would not pose such a danger to competition is key to Nvidia and Arm’s eventual unity, should it ever happen.