If there was any concern that Brexit would have a negative impact on foreign investment in the UK, the doubts were somewhat quashed this week when ARM Holdings announced a takeover by Japanese tech giant, Softbank, in a deal worth a staggering £24bn.
ARM Holdings is Britain’s biggest and most successful tech firm. Founded by entrepreneur, Hermann Hauser in 1990, the company made its mark with the vintage Acorn Archimedes and BBC micro:bit.
Today, the ARM microchip powers practically every digital device imaginable, including computers, iPhones and Samsung’s range of mobile products. Last year, the company sold 15 million microchips – more than its US rival Intel has sold in its 48-year history.
The ARM microchip is seen as the next-generation for microprocessor architecture, and whilst Britons have a right to be proud, we can’t help but feel it’s a shame the company is being sold to overseas investors.
We’re also curious how the likes of Apple and Google feel knowing their industry “allies” have handed over the new-generation microchip to a Japanese firm.
The sell-out also raises questions about the impact such a massive acquisition will have on the British economy. New PM, Theresa May has already voiced her determination to put an end to foreign takeovers that do not favour national interest.
However, on this occasion the UK government has been quick to respond with a positive message. “This is good news for British workers, it’s good news for the British economy,” a spokesman said. Given Softbank has already stated its intention to double the 3000-strong workforce of ARM Holding, we can’t argue with this.
Furthermore, in Softbank, the British tech giant is being adopted by a faithful parent. In recent years, the Japanese firm has already acquired Vodafone and Sprint together with a French robotics company, Aldebaran. Founder of Softbank, Masayoshi Son has said that ARM Holdings is one of the pillars of the company’s growth strategy.
The ARM microchip is used in numerous household items such as smartphones and tablets, computers, TV’s, Smart home technology, Smart cars and wearable tech. The microchip also powers smart cities and drones. It seems the Japanese tech giant has acquired ARM with a view to progressing the next-generation of “The Internet of Things” (IoT).
IoT is the proposed idea that by interconnecting digital devices our lives become much easier and more convenient. Possible scenarios include fridges that add food to the shopping list on your mobile phone when you are almost out, and kettles that tell you it’s time for cuppa.
We are experiencing a rapid development in mobile technology and in the very near future we will practically be able to manage our lives from our smartphones. To many people this may be a scary proposition, but it is almost guaranteed that most will embrace the convenience IoT technology offers. And a certain Japanese-owned British company will be central to making our future lives possible.
Words: Lauren Yaxley