April 4, 2022
Photo: Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Hello and welcome to Protocol Enterprise! Today: a detailed look at the breadth and depth of the chip industry’s lobbying efforts in Washington, Microsoft jumps on the Arm server train, and the latest funding rounds in enterprise tech.
Cloud infrastructure spending rose 8.8% in 2021 to hit $73.9 billion, according to numbers released by IDC last week. As supply chain chaos starts to ease, IDC thinks spending in 2022 will increase by 21.7% to hit $90 billion.
Chip companies have spent $100 million in lobbying expenditures over the last several years in hopes of getting 500 times that back from the federal government in the form of subsidies.
The chip industry’s spending on lobbying has risen sharply in recent years, as lawmakers have been debating $52 billion in federal subsidies aimed at bolstering American chip production and innovation.
As the semiconductor industry has grown in recent years, in part spurred by surging demand amid the pandemic, executives have begun to realize that their businesses are increasingly subject to lawmaker whims.
While the vast majority of the largest chipmakers spent at least some money on federal lobbying, Nvidia did not.
But many smaller amounts of new lobbying dollars also made a significant contribution to the sharp rise in lobbying expenditures.
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Microsoft unveiled Monday a preview of Azure virtual machines powered by the Arm-based Ampere server chips, putting additional pressure on Intel's server teams to stay competitive.
The Ampere Altra chips powering the virtual machines will deliver a 50% price-performance improvement over x86 chips, Microsoft said. Last year Ampere said that it had inked a deal with Microsoft to provide chips for use in Azure.
Ampere’s Altra chips and other Arm-based processors like AWS' Graviton have become more important to server buyers after years of promises, as companies seek chips that deliver higher performance with less power use. To date, Arm designs are far off from unseating AMD or Intel chips that dominate data center processing but continue to make gains, according to Jefferies data.
Microsoft announced its intention to offer Arm-based computing in Azure with chips made by Qualcomm and Cavium. Marvell acquired Cavium, and shut down the project; Qualcomm too killed the effort.
ConcertAI hit a $1.9 billion valuation after raising $150 million to provide data and AI services for the health care industry.
LinkSquare was valued at $800 million after raising $100 million for its contract management software.
Yokoy is worth more than $500 million after raising $80 million to help companies manage their expenses.
HackerRank hit a valuation of $500 million after raising $60 million to help recruiters test coders.
Builder.ai raised $100 million for its AI-powered low-code development platform.
AMD announced plans to acquire Pensando for $1.9 billion, hoping to add networking-tech expertise to its data-center strategy.
The U.S. State Department launched a new cybersecurity bureau that aims to help coordinate international responses to ransomware hacking groups, among other cyberthreats.
GitHub unveiled a new feature that lets users scan code for sensitive information before accepting a new branch of code, in hopes of avoiding accidental leaks of secret information.Spain said it would invest $12.4 billion in semiconductor manufacturing technology as interest in homegrown chip production continues to intensify.
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