Arm and Acorn co-founder Hermann Hauser says Britain has “no chance in hell” of being technologically independent and stresses that European countries need to have their own access to critical technology lest they be quite as dependent are from the US.
The inventor and entrepreneur spoke at Bloomberg’s Technology Summit in London, where he noted the UK struggles to retain local ownership of tech companies starting here.
A perfect example is Arm himself, which the British government has allowed to be short-sighted sold to Japanese SoftBank sold for around £24bn ($25.5bn) in 2016 and is now expected to be listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange in New York following a planned IPO.
More recently, however, Schneider Electric announced It is set to acquire all outstanding shares in Aveva – an industrial and engineering software company that has been described as one of the UK’s most successful technology groups in recent decades.
The UK government also allowed the transfer of Newport Wafer Fab – the country’s largest semiconductor fab – to Dutch company Nexperia, which in turn is owned by China-based Wingtech. The government then attempts to decide whether to do so cancel this transaction.
Corresponding BloombergHauser insisted that Europe and Britain must have access to critical technology to avoid being dependent on the US, citing former President Donald Trump’s threats to withhold technology as a means of blackmailing other nations.
Trump has used semiconductor design software, largely controlled by American companies, as “a weapon to force other countries, including Britain, to do what he wants,” Hauser said.
The dependency on semiconductor technology and computers is now so great that countries in Europe “only have to find their own independent access to critical technologies,” he added.
One question countries need to ask is whether they have all the critical technologies needed to run a country and its economy.
The answer for Britain is “absolutely no, there is absolutely no chance that Britain could ever become technologically sovereign,” Hauser said.
The situation for the UK is particularly dire as there is no discernible government technology strategy.
In July, the House of Lords Library published a report the question of whether the supply of microchips is a national security issue – in light of the global supply chain, manufacturing geopolitics and foreign ownership. It concluded that the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport was working on a semiconductor strategy “to be published shortly” but that it had not yet materialized.
In contrast, both the US and the EU are already implementing plans to boost the technology industry in their respective regions in the form of US$52 billion CHIPS law in America and the 43 billion euros ($41 billion) European chip lawboth introduced this year.
Hauser co-founded what would become Acorn Computers in 1978 and was involved in the spin-off of Acorn’s Advanced RISC Machines (ARM) chips division in 1990. Hauser is also the founder of venture capital firm Amadeus Capital Partners Ltd. ®
https://www.theregister.com/2022/09/29/arm_founder_uk_tech_sovereignty/ Hermann Hauser says Britain needs access to critical technology • The Register