Intel and NVIDIA Prepare to Kiss and Make up With Settlement
December 2, 2010 1:00 PM
Intel and NVIDIA have a common enemy -- the resurgent AMD. The pair are reportedly in talks to settle a long-standing lawsuit and increase their cooperation.
AMD is currently crushing NVIDIA in the discrete GPU market and gaining ground on Intel in the CPU market.
Union may represent effort to hold off surging AMD
(the 500 series) -- but
so does AMD
. And AMD is
NVIDIA in sales of discrete GPUs.
Likewise Intel, long having dominated the netbook/light laptop market with its Atom process is concerned about
AMD's new "Fusion" accelerated processing unit
, which packs a better integrated GPU than atom. Intel's primary hope to hang on to its market share involves pairing Atom with NVIDIA's ION lightweight GPU at an affordable price. But Intel and NVIDIA have been involved in a
bitter long-standing feud
that has resulted in Intel making ION offerings
more expensive than its own inferior chipset
But much like Lex Luthor and Superman occasionally do in the comics, these bitter enemies have found cause to try to set their difference aside, while facing a common threat. The pair was set to go to battle with each other in a trial starting Dec 6 in Delaware's Chancery Court. NVIDIA and Intel, though, have asked the court to postpone the trial concerning licensing issues to 2011, buying time for a settlement.
Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang coyly commented, "We’re always in talks. Our two companies are always in talks."
The settlement would be advantageous to both firms. Both have grown weary during the long legal campaign, which has stretched over six years, since being filed in 2004. The legal battle has been filled with
suits and countersuits
, with both chipmakers trying to deny each other access to their respective technologies, and alleging breaches of contract.
While Intel is the largest CPU chipmaker and NVIDIA is the world's second largest graphics chipmaker, both companies have missed out on potential revenue that could have come from joint products.
If they can reach a settlement, the quality of desktop hardware could be boosted. By allowing NVIDIA the right to make chipsets for its new CPUs, something that Intel has currently rejected, consumers could gain access to faster gaming and productivity offerings. And in the netbook sector the pair could at last offer an affordable ION+Atom platform that would mark a true competitor to AMD's dual-threat "Brazos" Fusion chip.
Is NVIDIA finally ready to put away
its "can of whoop-ass"
? We should have an answer to that in weeks or months to come.
"There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer
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