Rene Haas, head of the intellectual property group at Arm Holdings, spent much of Monday trying to reassure customers that the SoftBank-owned chip design company was not about to turn them into second-class citizens.
His efforts followed news the previous day that SoftBank had agreed to sell the UK company to Nvidia for up to $40bn, in what could end up as the semiconductor world’s biggest-ever deal.
The deal was tantamount to dropping a bomb in the middle of the chip industry. Companies that license Arm’s designs — which are used in most smartphone processors and many other devices that require chips with lower power consumption — are worried they will be “disadvantaged” once the UK group falls under the control of one of their competitors, Mr Haas admitted.
Arm’s customers may find themselves at the back of the queue when trying to get the company’s newest designs, said Mark Lippett, chief executive of chip start-up Xmos. “You’ll find Nvidia will be the first out on to the market with the latest Arm architectures,” he said.