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United States China Government Security

US Calls Broadcom's Bid For Qualcomm a National Security Risk (nytimes.com) 91

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The New York Times (Warning: source may be paywalled; alternative source): The United States government said Broadcom's proposed acquisition of rival chipmaker Qualcomm could pose a national security risk and called for a full investigation into the hostile bid. The move complicates an already contentious deal and increases the likelihood that Broadcom, which is based in Singapore, will end its pursuit of Qualcomm. Such an investigation is often a death knell for a corporate acquisition. A government panel, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or Cfius, noted, in part, that the potential risk was related to Broadcom's relationships with foreign entities, according to a letter from a United States Treasury official. It also said that the deal could weaken "Qualcomm's technological leadership," giving an edge to Chinese companies like Huawei. "China would likely compete robustly to fill any void left by Qualcomm as a result of this hostile takeover," the official said in the letter. The letter and the public call for an investigation reflects a newly aggressive stance by Cfius. In most cases, the panel operates in secret and weighs in after a deal is announced. In this instance, Cfius, which is made up of representatives from multiple federal agencies, is taking a proactive role and investigating before an acquisition agreement has even been signed.
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US Calls Broadcom's Bid For Qualcomm a National Security Risk

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    All I know is that Broadcom is synonymous with buggy hardware.

    Please let that company die.

  • Although I personally don't agree with this takeover attempt, I have to point the hypocrisy of the US.
    • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Tuesday March 06, 2018 @11:52PM (#56220297)

      I have to point the hypocrisy of the US.

      What hypocrisy? Under Trump, the US is openly protectionist in both actions and advocacy. That is stupid, but it is not hypocritical.

      • by RightwingNutjob ( 1302813 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2018 @12:00AM (#56220323)
        It's not stupid, it's just different from what you're used to. Tariffs alone would be stupid. Quashing H1B's alone would be stupid. Extra scrutiny to foreign investment alone would be stupid*. All of the above plus a hefty corporate tax cut might actually lead to an improvement.

        Or maybe not so stupid if we realize the existence of a whole wide universe not captured by the single number on the bottom line. Milton Friedman never understood this but you can't just stockpile steel or microchips; you have to be able to make your own or you risk inviting potshots from people who can.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          Username checks out

          • Protectionism is actually left-wing stupidity. Most of the opposition to Trump's metal tariffs is coming from Republicans.

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              It isn't necessarily stupidity. The common opinion among economists and right-wingers that it's stupidity has historical baggage attached to it.

              Back in Adam Smith's day, just about everyone was a subsistence farmer and free trade would make everyone wealthier in absolute terms. Even a century ago, there wasn't much difference in the standard of living among nations that would trade with each other. Sixty years ago, Europe and Japan were decimated by war and "free trade" could only mean that the French sold
              • it's still true that rich nations ought not throw up trade barriers against other similarly rich nations.

                The biggest exporter of both steel and aluminum to America is Canada.

                • And...you seem to be under the impression that I'm disagreeing with you over that.
                  • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2018 @03:32AM (#56220667)

                    The countries with the lowest trade barriers are Singapore, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and New Zealand. These are all countries with strong and growing economies. There are many examples of countries, such as Chile, South Korea, and Taiwan, that had closed economies, that then opened themselves to trade and prospered.

                    Can you name even a single counterexample of a country that put up trade barriers, and saw their rate of growth increase?

                    • by Goldsmith ( 561202 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2018 @04:49AM (#56220761)

                      Your heart's in the right place, but this is a bad question. Many countries use and have used trade barriers to great success.

                      Right now, you can look at Canada (agriculture) and China (manufactured goods) as growth-with-trade-barrier successes.

                      Historically, the US became a manufacturing power by having very high trade barriers through most of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th. Japan rebuilt it's economy behind steep trade barriers after WWII. Alexander Hamilton and England's Henry VII (the "businessman" king) were protectionists.

                      But, you're right to point out that success often comes when you close (for a generation or two) and then re-open. What is the quality of life like behind trade barriers? It's not better. With trade barriers, you're effectively getting people to work harder for less money. This is something we're already doing very well in the US, and which we've found we can do with technological advancement faster and better than trade barriers. This is because developing new tech gives you access to new markets as you develop them, and during the highest profit stages of market development. Technology development is what we're good at, we should focus on that.

                    • Look more closely (Score:2, Insightful)

                      by Anonymous Coward

                      I'm from New Zealand, and I think this a quite an oversimplification. Australia has much higher trade barriers than NZ, and has much higher growth (they have had something like 28 years now without a recession). This is because they have a big enough population to sustain their own heavy industries, and abundant natural resources that are in high demand.

                      The countries you list are all very small either population and/or resource wise. They have to trade, or their people go without. It doesn't really prove an

                    • Right now, you can look at Canada (agriculture) and China (manufactured goods) as growth-with-trade-barrier successes.

                      Neither of these is an example of a country that:
                      1. Had few trade barriers.
                      2. Increased trade barriers.
                      3. Saw growth increase.

                      Canada has barriers to trade in agriculture. But those barriers are not new, and are actually lower than they were in the past. They are pretty much universally recognized as stupid and counterproductive. Canadian farmers grow grain, instead of focusing on something better suited to their cooler climate such as canola, while America grows canola when it should be growing more g

                    • ...while America grows canola when it should be growing more grain.

                      Err...I don't think the US has any sort of problems with shortages of growing grains. We grow too much as it is.

                      We need to be growing more diverse vegetables, more green leafy stuff....more nutritionally dense foods for the populace, and less grain and corn for worthless junk foods production.

            • by q_e_t ( 5104099 )
              Protectionism has been used by left and right. It's certainly not liberal, though.
              • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2018 @04:13AM (#56220723)

                Protectionism has been used by left and right. It's certainly not liberal, though.

                "Liberal" means different things to different people.
                In Europe, it has the original meaning of what Americans call libertarian (free trade, free enterprise, social tolerance).
                In America, a "liberal" is a progressive, or what Europeans call "social democrats".
                In Australia, a "liberal" is a right wing conservative.

                • In Australia, a "liberal" is a right wing conservative.

                  And to the point ... the traditional meaning of 'liberal' in Australia arises out of the dispute between free traders (liberals) and protectionists in the early years of federation. It was an irony of fate that the later 'Liberal Party,' when it was formed in 1945 out of the ruins of the conservative United Australia Party, went into coalition with the protectionist Country Party (subsequently renamed to National Party) who were instrumental in erect

          • So you glanced at the messenger's badge and either didn't bother to read the message or didn't understand it.

            The issue of protectionism is entirely orthogonal to the concept of "left and right" (which are themselves bullshit flags for the naive to rally beneath while they're in fact being dividided and conquered but that's another story).

        • by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2018 @01:41AM (#56220523)

          It's not stupid, it's just different from what you're used to.

          We've done a lot of bad shit and yet somehow this is proving to be one of the darker chapters of our nation's history.

          Tariffs alone would be stupid.

          Tariffs without cause (e.g. protectionism) are always stupid.

          Quashing H1B's alone would be stupid.

          H-1B visas have been abused to no end. Quashing them now is actually a fairly sane idea. The president has made no efforts to do so.

          Extra scrutiny to foreign investment alone would be stupid*.

          Actually, that's just called prudence. Why do you think there is a Committee on Foreign Investment in the first place?

          All of the above plus a hefty corporate tax cut might actually lead to an improvement.

          In a different economy, maybe. However, in our economy, it's going to hurt far more than it helps. FYI, there are no winners in trade wars.

          • We've done a lot of bad shit and yet somehow this is proving to be one of the darker chapters of our nation's history.

            We've also done a lot of stupid shit such as falling farther and farther into debt (the "we" being the American people, not some abstract concept of "the nation"). For decades, we've gotten fuck all in the way of solutions and suggestions; globalist-interests continued to milk the situation (monetizing the race to the bottom and ensuring they're holding all the cards when there're no other players left) while their shills assured us that everything was fine.

            Of course they've gotten loud and shrill.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          You had me interested in what you were saying a little to see where you were going. Then you mentioned a hefty corporate tax cut leading to an improvement which removed all doubt you didn't know what you were talking about.

          A hefty corporate tax cut would not lead to any improvement as their tax code is already setup by design expressly to prevent that conflict of interest as both the money they reinvest into their companies or pay their employees are already tax deductible and the main things they are payin

    • by Anonymous Coward

      No that is singapore that is a protectionist regime. You cant buy a house or car there unless the government allows you to. When you die the government takes your house. If you swear to express yourself you cop an excessively heavy fine or even get caned. They still practice forced military service on its populance during peace. Most of their companies are government owned like singtel or they're run by retirement funds designed to takeover the profitable companies of other countries. They have no quibble b

      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

        They still practice forced military service on its populance during peace.

        To be fair, most countries force some form of national service on their citizenry. The US, Canada and a few others are exceptions in that they have a purely voluntary military. Though the US has a draft, most of the membership is strictly voluntary since the draft only applies during wartime.

        Some examples include Switzerland, UK (the Princes (Harry and Andrew) had to do it as well - so royalty is no exception), China (and likewise, mo

        • by Whibla ( 210729 )

          Some examples include Switzerland, UK (the Princes (Harry and Andrew) had to do it as well - so royalty is no exception)...

          You are mistaken.

          Unlike Switzerland, the UK does not have mandatory military service, not even for royalty.

          The reason, as I understand it, that the Princes did serve was out of a sense of obligation (literally the notion of noblesse oblige). If, as titular leaders of the country's military, they were to give orders sending soldiers into combat they'd better be in a position to understand what being a soldier is. There is also historical precedent to consider. When it comes to the nobility it has long been

    • Did you read why?
      This isn't protectionist. It's national defense. MILITARY!
      DOD over rules all
  • P. J. O'Rourke (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tokolosh ( 1256448 ) on Tuesday March 06, 2018 @11:44PM (#56220265)

    "When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators."

    -- P. J. O'Rourke

  • by Gojira Shipi-Taro ( 465802 ) on Tuesday March 06, 2018 @11:52PM (#56220291) Homepage

    Can we just dispense with linking paywalled sources in the first place?

    It's definitely a poor idea to allow Huwei or however the fuck it's spelt to dominate this space.

    • Can we just dispense with linking paywalled sources in the first place?

      It's definitely a poor idea to allow Huwei or however the fuck it's spelt to dominate this space.

      Yes, but the solution is for American Companies to stop royally sucking, not putting up government acts of business obstruction.

      Recently America started crybabying about Chinese dominating the solar panel industry. BUT the reason that China dominates is THEY invested heavily in Solar power R&D at a time when The US of A made a decision to double-down on "fossil fuels".

      Choices have consequences, deal with it.

  • by johnjones ( 14274 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2018 @12:11AM (#56220339) Homepage Journal

    Instead of taking over companies and rinsing them of all their assets...

    lets see broadcom actually produce some new products from LSI and Brocade maybe ?

    they are headquartered in singapore to pay as little tax as possible...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 07, 2018 @12:41AM (#56220415)

    We all remember the original Red Dawn, the movie where Russian troops invade the US and high school kids carry out guerilla warfare against the invading Russians.

    Red Dawn 2064 opens with Evgeny Shamalov, the first candidate of the new UltraCon-Republican party, being sworn is as President of the United States. Sharmalov, it is revealed, lost the popular vote, but won the electoral college in an election widely regarded as having been rigged.

    Flash back to 2013. We see a small jet land at a private airport outside Miami. A very pregnant Yekaterina Vladimirovna Tikhonova Sharmalov (nee Putin) is helped down the steps and into a waiting limo which whisks her away to a hotel reminiscent of Mar-A-Lago. A few days later she goes into labor and delivers a baby boy. A baby boy she names Evgeny.. Days later they fly home to Russia in possession of an American birth certificate.

    Flash forward to 2064 again. Smarmolov quickly moves to cement his power, taking control with an iron fist. Russian billionaires move to the US in record numbers. Just like the Norman invasion of England in 1066 where the Norman nobility take over, except now it's the new Russian nobility and Americans are the new serfs.

    High school kids that try to rise up are quickly eliminated by US Air Force Predator drones strikes, flown by our own US military. The kids have AR-15s – America never passed reasonable gun control – but they didn't stand a chance against Predators and guided missile strikes.

    -- Americanus

    • There's already a Red Dawn remake. It's called AmeriGeddon.

      The plot involves the US government conspiring with the UN to launch a terrorist attack upon the US to use as a pretext for confiscating all guns, because armed Americans are the only thing that stands in the way of the UN's ambition to create one world government. It's basically a right-wing fantasy. It's awful, but amusingly awful.

    • by PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2018 @04:21AM (#56220735)

      High school kids that try to rise up are quickly eliminated by US Air Force Predator drones strikes, flown by our own US military. The kids have AR-15s – America never passed reasonable gun control – but they didn't stand a chance against Predators and guided missile strikes.

      -- Americanus

      This is a common military strategic thinking mistake made by top US military brass and armchair computer war games players.

      The Afghan and Iraqi insurgents only have homemade Kalashnikovs, RPGs and IEDs! We will easily crush them with our M1 Abram tanks, Predator and guided missile strikes! We will defeat them in a few weeks!

      Well, after 15 years, the US military still hasn't defeated them. The US military met the same fate in Vietnam. I remember in the 70s, everyone in the US said that we would never repeat the same mistakes made there.

      Oops! We forgot, and thought we could defeat guerilla insurgents with a conventional army. And we repeated the same mistakes in Afghanistan and Iraq.

      How did the UK do in trying to defeat the IRA?

      They didn't, and were forced into a peace process with known terrorist murderers. Or freedom fighters, depending on your personal political beliefs.

      A high school kid with an assault weapon hidden under his bed will not defeat the US military. But he can indefinitely harass and annoy them causing casualties that will eventually force them to give up.

      Oh, where will these high school kids get their weapons . . . ? The same place they get their drugs today. All the US military might cannot prevent drugs from being smuggled into the country . . . weapons will be no problem either.

      And IEDs, just how will the high school kids make them . . . ? The same way I did in high school. Take a bottle of iodine crystals and mix it into household ammonia cleaning fluid. Strain the resulting precipitate through a coffee filter, and let it dry . . . somewhere in the shade, not in sunlight! When it is dry, poke at it with a pencil.

      Fun, fun, fun.

      The Palestinian terrorists even produce deadly souped up bottle rockets called Qassams, which use aluminum powder and sulfur for fuel. Oh, and "Carlo" machine guns.

      So, "Red Dawn" was a seriously silly movie . . . but the effectiveness of a guerilla fighters against a conventional military force should not be underestimated.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        You can defeat guerrilla insurgents with a conventional army. We're seeing it happen right now in Syria. Sri Lanka just recently did so in its civil war. The US has even done it before: read some history about the Indian wars, or the Philippine-American war. The issue though is that it tends to require a level of brutality that is currently politically untenable in the United States.

        • The issue though is that it tends to require a level of brutality that is currently politically untenable in the United States.

          And not just politically. American soldiers committed suicide in record numbers in Iraq. What do you think those numbers would be like if they were massacring their neighbors at home?

          • And not just politically. American soldiers committed suicide in record numbers in Iraq. What do you think those numbers would be like if they were massacring their neighbors at home?

            Depends on how good the Us vs Them propaganda has become.

            Not that good just yet. I saw a pickup truck on the highway Monday with a permanently disabled license plate surrounded by a US Marine Corp plate holder, a US service disabled veteran sticker, and right next to it... a black with white lettering RESIST sticker.

      • A high school kid with an assault weapon hidden under his bed will not defeat the US military. But he can indefinitely harass and annoy them causing casualties that will eventually force them to give up.

        Yeah. I saw that movie, too. [youtube.com]

        Wolverines!

    • How about the movie where a corrupt political party holds a fake primary for a candidate, who happened to leak highly classified information while purposefully violating public records law. They use their shills in the media to slime the opponent, who is an upstanding senator who refuses to accept corporate bribes and whose rapidly rising popularity is a threat to their agenda.

      Someone on the inside of the party who supports the good candidate discovers what is really going on, and has access to copy the i

  • Everybody who ever grappled with driver BLOBs knows that Qualcomm* 'has an open heart' for people coming in via radio. This allows agencies to take over your phone easily via GPRS/LTE using an IMSI-catcher or simply by getting hooked in-between "by law" (after all, your're a potential terrorist).
    Now if Broadcom takes over Qualcomm this could jeopardize their neat back doors. Makes you want to cry, doesn't it? :-P

    ---
    *"Qual": noun, female; German for 'ordeal'.
  • If they had initiated the hostile take over in 2016, they could have just made a donation to the Clinton Foundation. It worked well for Uranium One.

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