Originally Posted by SactoMan01
Sorry, it won't happen.
The fear that Apple will make ARM instruction proprietary and lock out competitors could run the ire of the Department of Justice Antitrust Division in the USA and the European Union antitrust regulators, and that will kibosh the deal in no time flat.
I think this merger would receive anti-trust scrutiny, but ultimately I don't think the anti-trust authorities could make a case stick. There are basically two markets involved here -- (1) the market for smart phones and (2) the market for the CPUs in smart phones. There's a little California company called Intel (maybe you've heard of them) that is trying to make inroads into the market for the CPUs in smart phones. An Apple takeover of ARM would actually help Intel gain market share, so that isn't anti-competitive -- it actually increases competition in that market. As for the smartphone market, I'm sure this would increase apple's marketshare relative to what it otherwise would have been, but probably not by a huge amount. Maybe Apple ends up with 50% of the market instead of the 40% that they might have otherwise eventually had. But 50% isn't a monopoly -- there would still be plenty of other competitors out there.
In fact, I can imagine that Wall Street will view such a merger negatively and send Apple's stock price down, precisely because of what I wrote above. That's because on the face of it, ARM will be less valuable as a part of Apple than it is as an independent company, because being a part of Apple will cause ARM to lose customers.
Of course, the thing that Wall Street will miss (and that the anti-trust people might recognize but will be hard pressed to do anything about), is that while this merger might be bad in the short run for Apple, it's very good in the long run. This would be one of those Steve Jobs chessmaster moves that ordinary Balmeresque CEOs who focus only on the next few quarters would never, ever make.
The bottom line is that the anti-trust enforcers are accustomed to dealing with shortsighted MBA types who do obviously d-bag things for short term profits. An Apple purchase of ARM does not fit that mold at all, and so it would be very hard for the anti-trust guys to deal with this (or at least that's my guess).