5 October 2020

The majority of IT experts believe the government should step in over the sale of technology giant ARM, according to a new survey by the industry’s professional body.

The poll was carried out by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT following the announcement that ARM Holdings is to be sold to American chip maker Nvidia in a deal worth 40 billion dollars (£31.2 billion).

The poll found that 70% of IT experts believe the government should intervene in the deal, a measure it is actively considering under the Enterprise Act.

Only 11% agree that the sale of ARM to Nvidia will strengthen the UK’s position as a world leader in digital technologies.

Nearly all IT specialists questioned (95%) feel it is important for the UK to retain ownership and control of significant digital tech companies within its borders.

Just over three-quarters of IT professionals (76%) agree with the comments made by industry analyst Geoff Blaber that the deal would be 'detrimental' to ARM and its ecosystem.

Exactly 40% agree with Jensen Huang, founder and chief executive of Nvidia, that the combination of Nvidia and ARM would create a firm 'fabulously positioned for the age of AI'.

The comments captured with the poll suggest that the UK should control the ownership and destiny of strategically significant tech companies. Not for idealistic or nationalistic reasons, but because keeping assets like ARM and Imagination Technologies, will cushion Britain from geo-political turmoil, protect jobs and secure the Intellectual Property rights underpinning our future.

For example, ARM chips will power the Internet of Things; so NVIDIA will have its hand on a priceless social and economic lever in a world where all our devices can eventually talk to each other.

Paul Fletcher, Chief Executive of BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT said: “We recommend that strategic digital assets and significant technological intellectual property are considered more fully in the Government’s Industrial Strategy. In a post Brexit and COVID world the UK should be a beacon of technological innovation and leadership.”

This report was generated on 28/09/20. Overall, 1771 BCS members completed this questionnaire during the period 16-28 September 2020.

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