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Trump blocks Broadcom's bid for Qualcomm
By Thom Holwerda on 2018-03-14 00:43:59

President Trump on Monday blocked Broadcom's $117 billion bid for the chip maker Qualcomm, citing national security concerns and sending a clear signal that he was willing to take extraordinary measures to promote his administration’s increasingly protectionist stance.

In a presidential order, Mr. Trump said "credible evidence" had led him to believe that if Singapore-based Broadcom were to acquire control of Qualcomm, it "might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States." The acquisition, if it had gone through, would have been the largest technology deal in history.

This US administration would eventually stumble onto doing the right thing - infinite monkeys and all that - so here we are. To explain why this is a good move, Ben Thompson's article about this issue is a fantastic, must-read explainer.

There is a certain amount of irony here: the government is intervening in the private market to stop the sale of a company that is being bought because of government-granted monopolies. Sadly, I doubt it will occur to anyone in government to fix the problem at its root, and Qualcomm would be the first to fight against the precise measures - patent overhaul - that would do more than anything to ensure the company remains independent and incentivized to spend even more on innovation, because its future would depend on innovation to a much greater degree than it does now.

The reality is that technology has flipped the entire argument for patents - that they spur innovation - completely on its head. The very nature of technology - that costs are fixed and best maximized over huge user-bases, along with the presence of network effects - mean there are greater returns to innovation than ever before. The removal of most technology patents would not reduce the incentive to innovate; indeed, given that a huge number of software patents in particular are violated on accident (unsurprising, given that software is ultimately math), their removal would spur more. And, as Qualcomm demonstrates, one could even argue such a shift would be good for national security.

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Read Comments: 1-10 -- 11-15
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It's only a matter of time
By Poseidon on 2018-03-14 01:06:39
In USA it's only a matter of time before it happens anyway. I hope I'm wrong, however, these companies will just dump money into the legalized bribery political system and get it done a year later or under the next administration under the guise of "national security" more likely, which is insane, but that is USA.
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Trump
By judgen on 2018-03-14 02:35:55
Your seething hate for trump shines through once again. Try to keep it professional. There are people that likes the low unemployment, the low taxes and the chance to live outside govertnment programs again.
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RE: Trump
By WorknMan on 2018-03-14 03:08:50
> Try to keep it professional.

LOL, you must be new here.
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RE: Trump
By woegjiub on 2018-03-14 03:31:48
That vile man is the open laughing-stock of the entire world (sans US).

Far from MAGA, he's driving you all into the ground, but I don't care - China and Europe are far more important trading partners. The US can burn.
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RE: Trump
By kwan_e on 2018-03-14 03:51:33
> There are people that likes the low unemployment,

What has that got do with Trump?

> the low taxes

Yeah, of course certain people will like the low taxes. But people have yet to point out tangible benefits besides enriching the people who are already rich.
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RE: It's only a matter of time
By Kochise on 2018-03-14 04:07:26
Qualcomm buying NXP obviously hasn't be a "national security" threat. One way logic.
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RE: It's only a matter of time
By nicubunu on 2018-03-14 08:27:41
They will? As in is not already happening?
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RE[2]: Ignoring the USA
By shotsman on 2018-03-14 08:48:35
I can remember a time when I'd see the words

"Not for Sale or Issue in the USA" on many books.

I think that it won't be long before companies decide to vote with their feet and not trade (import or export) with the USA while the current POTUS is in place.

Sadly, it seems that far too many Americans think there is no civilised (in their opinion) world outside the lower 48.
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RE[2]: Trump
By fmaxwell on 2018-03-14 14:54:54
> > There are people that likes the low unemployment,

What has that got do with Trump?

As you know, absolutely nothing. Unlike Obama, Trump inherited an economy that was going great. All he's managed to do is lob some grenades (that have resulted in wild swings on the markets (I make my living off of my stock investments, so I know of what I speak).

> > the low taxes

Yeah, of course certain people will like the low taxes. But people have yet to point out tangible benefits besides enriching the people who are already rich.

But people, including economists, have pointed out the devastating effects of the lowered federal revenues, with ballooning debt, likelihood of inflation, cuts to vital government programs like Medicare and Medicaid, and so on.
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Afraid of patent trolls?
By slashdev on 2018-03-14 16:57:23
So this is about patent trolling? If that really is the case this acquisition really should go through.

If an entire industry grinds to a hault because of the American patent system, just maybe things will be done about it.
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