Arm will use ‘firewalls’ to protect customer data from Nvidia

Arm's customers include Intel and Qualcomm Inc, which are also considered some of Nvidia’s main competitors

Arm has said it will use 'firewalls' to protect its customers’ confidential information from Nvidia, which is set to acquire the Cambridge-based company for $40 billion (£30 billion).

The 'firewalls'  also aim to ensure that the company will not be able to prematurely access Arm's technologies.

Arm's IP Products Group president, Rene Haas, told Reuters that the his company is “going to keep the firewalls up between the two companies relative to confidentiality”. 

“We’re not going to give any early access to Nvidia,” he added.

However, some information might be exempt from protection. Haas said that Arm would have to disclose whether significant customers were planning to move to its rival RISC-V, which could potentially affect Nvidia’s financial results. 

These major customers include Intel and Qualcomm Inc, which are also considered some of Nvidia’s main competitors.

Haas told Reuters that the two companies were in discussions on “how to minimise the access to that information”.

Intel’s chief executive Bob Swan previously told Reuters that the company would “evaluate this every step of the way, as we do with all combinations in the industry, to make sure that Intel and the industry have access to critical technologies on a fair and level playing field”.

Meanwhile, Nvidia issued a statement on Wednesday vowing to “make sure that the confidential information of Arm’s customers will be fully protected, just as it is today”.

The deal, which is arguably one of the most controversial acquisitions in recent years, will see Nvidia pay Arm’s current owner SoftBank a total of $21.5 billion in common stock and $12 billion in cash, which includes $2 billion payable at signing. 

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The Japanese investment group took over the chipmaker in 2016, and the government at the time mandated that Arm remains in the UK.

However, the new acquisition raised concerns that Nvidia will move Arm's operations out of Cambridge. Following the announcement of the deal, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang said that his company "intends to retain the name and strong brand identity" of Arm within the UK and also expand its base in Cambridge. 

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