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Nvidia Partner Program - Illegal?

Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 7:20 pm
by Welch
Interesting read.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jasonevang ... tices/amp/

I personally wouldn't be surprised if this were the case. Nvidia has always had this sort of crap slinging type of mentality. I'll wait for more evidence and if it's serious enough we could see a suit with Intel and AMD against Nvidia for antitrust similar to Intel vs AMD had going before.

Waiting to see.

Re: Nvidia Partner Program - Illegal?

Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 7:56 pm
by Convert
I fail to understand the point of this program.

Does Nvidia really think they are saving someone from accidentally buying an AMD card by doing this? They think that someone out there beleives ROG always = Nvidia and so they just click buy on the first ROG card that shows up?

I don't know about anyone else, but I've never seen someone look for an Nvidia card by searching for the marketing slogan of an AIB.

In a roundabout way I would think it might be something a bit more than this. I wonder if they are hoping they can hijack all the well known marketing slogans. So if someone has a positive view of the ROG branding, Nvidia must be hoping that ROG becomes an Nvidia exclusive connection and a new branding is made up for AMD cards.

Seems odd though, because for the players that also make motherboards and other peripherals, I'd think they would keep their well known branding for their own stuff. Unless Nvidia grants the use of the branding for things that are not AMD, then I guess it's just a way to hijack the brand.

Re: Nvidia Partner Program - Illegal?

Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 8:19 pm
by ludi
I'm so old, I not only remember when Google wasn't evil; I remember when Nvidia wasn't evil.

Re: Nvidia Partner Program - Illegal?

Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 8:21 pm
by just brew it!
Convert wrote:
I fail to understand the point of this program.

Does Nvidia really think they are saving someone from accidentally buying an AMD card by doing this? They think that someone out there beleives ROG always = Nvidia and so they just click buy on the first ROG card that shows up?

From the article:
Forbes wrote:
For Nvidia partners, the program is set to deliver social media promotions, engineering and marketing support, and early access to new Nvidia GeForce technologies.

IOW most of the tangible benefits are for the board maker, not the customer. The spin about how it benefits the customer is just that -- spin.

Re: Nvidia Partner Program - Illegal?

Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 8:43 pm
by synthtel2
Go Kyle Bennett, asking the tough questions!

This is 100% in-character for the Nvidia I know, and I'm more surprised it took so long for something like this to wind up public.

Re: Nvidia Partner Program - Illegal?

Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 8:52 pm
by derFunkenstein
ludi wrote:
I'm so old, I not only remember when Google wasn't evil; I remember when Nvidia wasn't evil.

I remember those days where the upstart graphics company had its Riva 128 as the 2D card in lots of systems with one (or in some exotic cases, two) 3Dfx Voodoo 2 cards. Capital D in 3Dfx, baby.

But you know how it goes in these stories. You either die the hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.

Re: Nvidia Partner Program - Illegal?

Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 9:38 pm
by JustAnEngineer
ludi wrote:
I'm so old, I not only remember when Google wasn't evil; I remember when Nvidia wasn't evil.
...and you walked there through the snow... uphill... both ways!

Re: Nvidia Partner Program - Illegal?

Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 9:58 pm
by bthylafh
JustAnEngineer wrote:
ludi wrote:
I'm so old, I not only remember when Google wasn't evil; I remember when Nvidia wasn't evil.
...and you walked there through the snow... uphill... both ways!


Wearing a 50-pound rucksack and leaky old boots.

Re: Nvidia Partner Program - Illegal?

Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 10:15 pm
by Krogoth
This is Nvidia's long-term bid in trying to keep gaming discrete cards relevant for the masses. iGPUs are beginning to eat away at "mid-range" discrete gaming market. It just a matter of time before discrete gaming cards become as niche as flightsticks, VR headsets, gaming steering wheels etc.

Re: Nvidia Partner Program - Illegal?

Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 10:17 pm
by jihadjoe
synthtel2 wrote:
Go Kyle Bennett, asking the tough questions!

This is 100% in-character for the Nvidia I know, and I'm more surprised it took so long for something like this to wind up public.

Funny because Kyle has been vilified several times in the past by the AMD subreddit for being biased toward Nvidia. There is no way to please the people in there.

Re: Nvidia Partner Program - Illegal?

Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 10:18 pm
by DragonDaddyBear
Convert wrote:
I fail to understand the point of this program.

This would cause people to associate gaming with the green team, meaning the only growing PC segment, gaming, would highly favor them because consumers would choose green over red.

Re: Nvidia Partner Program - Illegal?

Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 11:10 pm
by NovusBogus
This just sounds like an authorized distributor/reseller network to me, honestly. Heck, not even that strict since those typically do come with exclusivity clauses and geographical restrictions. So general bitching is fine--NV probably deserves it, arrogant as they are--but good luck trying to build any kind of legal argument against something that everyone and their doggie has been doing since the dawn of time.

Re: Nvidia Partner Program - Illegal?

Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 11:25 pm
by ludi
bthylafh wrote:
Wearing a 50-pound rucksack and leaky old boots.

You had a rucksack for your CRT? What privilege.

Re: Nvidia Partner Program - Illegal?

Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 11:41 pm
by Ryu Connor
I'm perplexed by all the talk of anti-competitive behavior.

They don't have significant market power or government backing.

Image

I wouldn't expect any regulatory bodies to get involved in this.

AMD fished this to Kyle to create a tempest in a teapot. Looks like he took the bait.

Re: Nvidia Partner Program - Illegal?

Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 11:47 pm
by Welch
Ryu Connor wrote:
I'm perplexed by all the talk of anti-competitive behavior.

They don't have significant market power or government backing.

Image

I wouldn't expect any regulatory bodies to get involved in this.

AMD fished this to Kyle to create a tempest in a teapot. Looks like he took the bait.


The "claim" is that AMD didn't lead them in that direction, but I guess we will see in time. At this point it is all hearsay from Kyle and the Forbes article author. I'm curious to see where if anywhere it leads.

Re: Nvidia Partner Program - Illegal?

Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 11:53 pm
by Ryu Connor
Welch wrote:
The "claim" is that AMD didn't lead them in that direction, but I guess we will see in time. At this point it is all hearsay from Kyle and the Forbes article author. I'm curious to see where if anywhere it leads.


This is how opposition research works in politics too.

A political entity with deep pockets does the leg work and finds a skeleton(s) that will create perceptual and/or real issues for a public figure.

Then they drop some clues/hints to the press and step away, cleanly removing the discussions of bias or other tangential concerns from the story. The political entity merely becomes yet another "anonymous source" that helped make the story possible.

This really deserves one of those GIFs of people clapping and someone saying, "Well played, AMD. Well played."

Re: Nvidia Partner Program - Illegal?

Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 11:58 pm
by Welch
Ryu Connor wrote:
Welch wrote:
The "claim" is that AMD didn't lead them in that direction, but I guess we will see in time. At this point it is all hearsay from Kyle and the Forbes article author. I'm curious to see where if anywhere it leads.


This is how opposition research works in politics too.

A political entity with deep pockets does the leg work and finds a skeleton(s) that will create perceptual and/or real issues for a public figure.

Then they drop some clues/hints to the press and step away, cleanly removing the discussions of bias or other tangential concerns from the story. The political entity merely becomes yet another "anonymous source" that helped make the story possible.

This really deserves one of those GIFs of people clapping and someone saying, "Well played, AMD. Well played."


Very true, it probably should have been kept under wraps until something could be shown in hard evidence that Nvidia was in fact doing what was alleged. It's like the current political claims about certain politicians (like you said). A lot of those claims are either wildly exaggerated or never happened, yet it boarders on the possible enough that people can imagine it is real. Just from comments on here, most of us wouldn't be surprised if Nvidia was in fact trying to rig this in this manner.

As far as Intel having the lion's share, we all know that is just general GPU, not discrete. Since Intel doesn't have a discrete option, I wonder if you could show those markets as their own segment and then a regulatory body would care to take action? Again, if any of this materializes.

Re: Nvidia Partner Program - Illegal?

Posted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 12:09 am
by Ryu Connor
Welch wrote:
As far as Intel having the lion's share, we all know that is just general GPU, not discrete. Since Intel doesn't have a discrete option, I wonder if you could show those markets as their own segment and then a regulatory body would care to take action? Again, if any of this materializes.


If Kyle was as good a journalist as he claimed, we would already have some answers for that. He could have paid a business lawyer for their time to dig up some relevant statutes and precedent that would have provided some clarity.

Of course if he did that and found out that there isn't an issue... well then. This wouldn't be a giant clickbait traffic driver for his site would it?

Who needs facts when you can just put geeks into moral outrage. We love moral outrage.

AMD filed suit against Intel the last time they felt they were getting screwed. This time they just shop it to the press? Perhaps our answer is made clear by their actions.

Re: Nvidia Partner Program - Illegal?

Posted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 12:38 am
by anotherengineer
Ryu Connor wrote:
I'm perplexed by all the talk of anti-competitive behavior.

They don't have significant market power or government backing.

Image

I wouldn't expect any regulatory bodies to get involved in this.

AMD fished this to Kyle to create a tempest in a teapot. Looks like he took the bait.


doh conflicting charts ;)
http://store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey/

Re: Nvidia Partner Program - Illegal?

Posted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 1:15 am
by CScottG
It's not a legitimate article - its a gossip-piece. (..not a single point of concern mentioned is substantiated.)

A. going after specific product branding doesn't achieve the sort of market penetration that would result in something anti-competetive (at least when comparing it to the Intel suit); B. it effects specfic branding of customer's choices - that doesn't mean that it actually will effect the underlying product choices; C. Disruption is only with respect to specific product branding, not doing business with AMD or Intel.


What it does do is "hit" an OEM's capability to "up-sell" cards/systems from AMD & Intel (through specific branding) - it "eats" into their profit margin.

I'm pretty sure that Nvidia has looked at current law to make sure it's legal (..it's not like they don't have the resources). ..of course any given jurisdiction could enact law to change that (..most notably the EU), though the "program" might be limited to certain markets (jurisdictions) to "side-step" this potential problem.



-now the "non-compliance" (not getting with the "program") condition of limiting Nvidia GPU's to OEM's would almost certainly run "foul" of anti-competitive laws - BUT that's only if it can be proven AND if supply wasn't something that couldn't be explained in *OTHER circumstances.

*crappy as it may be - but for once we have such a condition.

Re: Nvidia Partner Program - Illegal?

Posted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 8:58 am
by Glorious
Ryu Connor wrote:
If Kyle was as good a journalist as he claimed, we would already have some answers for that.


You know, this is what annoyed me the most: that article was terribly written. I mean, the Forbes article was even worse, because after reading it I was entirely unclear on what exactly was even being alleged (I repeat, it was awful), but Kyle's wasn't all that much better.

There seem to be two charges buried in endless blather of vague characterization and sensationalism.

1) Nvidia has a brand development co-marketing agreement for which it provides all or most of the funding in which the language involved suggests that dual-branding might be disallowed.

Of course, a) Kyle only quotes a context-less single sentence to substantiate this b) He provides only one example where this might even be a problem, ASUS's ROG, but he has no idea if it actually is or if ASUS is even a partner in this scheme c) he states his own non-tentative conclusion based upon his reading and his understanding of this sentence without referencing any source for it whatsoever.

The problem here is that, on the face of it, this is not anti-competitive. If I am co-marketing with you, I'm fully allowed to make restrictions on how you conduct that marketing. I am paying money to promote your X brand, of course I can insist that you don't also use X brand to market my competitor's products. If you don't like that, you just say no. This is common sense: If I make a new "Gusto"TM motor and pay for an ad campaign to say it is in Packard Vehicles's new "GoFAST"TM car, if it turns out that they are also selling "GoFAST"TM cars with another motor altogether and the ads just say "BUY THE NEW AWESOME GoFAST car!!!! *even better with Gusto motors which they may or may not have depending on dealership", yeah, that's wrong.

That's fundamentally different than the AMD/Intel/Dell/FTC brouhaha: Intel was giving Dell discounts for product purchases for not selling AMD altogether. Yes, duh, that's anti-competitive.

2) There is wink/nod that Nvidia might hold back shipments or volume or whatever if you don't play nice.

That's a huge deal if true, but it's also just a single statement in Kyle's article with literally nothing to substantiate it. He states that companies "feel that way", but he explicitly says it isn't contractual and he doesn't mention which or how many.

So... maybe just don't publish this claim then?

Re: Nvidia Partner Program - Illegal?

Posted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 9:12 am
by Captain Ned
Glorious wrote:
So... maybe just don't publish this claim then?

Where are the click-through rates on that?

Re: Nvidia Partner Program - Illegal?

Posted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 9:16 am
by just brew it!
Kyle? Jump to conclusions? Say it isn't so!

/s

Re: Nvidia Partner Program - Illegal?

Posted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 9:51 am
by Bauxite
Ryu Connor wrote:
I'm perplexed by all the talk of anti-competitive behavior.

They don't have significant market power or government backing.

[terrible graph of a tree in a forest]

I wouldn't expect any regulatory bodies to get involved in this.

AMD fished this to Kyle to create a tempest in a teapot. Looks like he took the bait.


That graph is about as relevant to reality as posting the brand of capacitors on motherboards. You also don't have to be a monopoly to put illegal terms in business contracts.
I'm going to dig deep in my nerd bucket here and call your post deliberately obtuse.

Pretty funny that you float amd as the source for kyle too.

Re: Nvidia Partner Program - Illegal?

Posted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 10:17 am
by Glorious
Bauxite wrote:
That graph is about as relevant to reality as posting the brand of capacitors on motherboards. You also don't have to be a monopoly to put illegal terms in business contracts.


Oh man.

Ok. Deep breath.

YOUR statement is about as relevant to reality as $RANDOM_NERD_EXAMPLE.

Why?

Because what are the illegal terms? To the first claim: Co-marketing like this isn't illegal to my knowledge (though yes, I am not a lawyer, do not even look like a lawyer, etc..., and so I absolutely welcome a well-cited reprimand, particularly if from an actual lawyer or person in a lawish profession).

to the second claim: Kyle explicitly states that contract does not contain any such threats, just that "people" "feel" it is "wink/nod" like that. :roll:

Bauxite wrote:
I'm going to dig deep in my nerd bucket here and call your post deliberately obtuse.


It isn't though.

I mean, do you read these forums? There is a recent thread literally entitled "Who's down with the IGP"

Saying that ACME dominates the add-in motor when 1) the vast majority of vehicles come with original motors now 2) the vast majority of customers do not purchase replacement motors, whether at the dealership or aftermarket 3) and the original motors are becoming more and more suitable for most purposes (which is why #2 is happening so much now) is what is mostly obtuse.

I mean, there's a point to be made about the add-in motor market, sure, but you criticism is AT LEAST as much of an overstatement as what you are criticizing on that basis.

Bauxite wrote:
Pretty funny that you float amd as the source for kyle too.


PLEASE DON'T SPREAD RIDICULOUS NONSENSE:

Forbes Article wrote:
This is not a story Bennett just stumbled onto. Several weeks ago AMD approached Bennett (and other undisclosed journalists) about a new Nvidia program launching called the GeForce Partner Program


Kyle HIMSELF wrote:
Before we go any further, in the effort to be as transparent as possible, we need to let you know that AMD came to us and presented us with "this story." AMD shopped this story with other websites as well.


I MEAN, COME ON. DID YOU READ THESE?

Re: Nvidia Partner Program - Illegal?

Posted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 10:52 am
by RAGEPRO
Ryu Connor wrote:
They don't have significant market power or government backing.
(chart redacted for space)
I don't have a dog in this fight, but I thought it topical to stop in and remark that this chart isn't particularly relevant to the conversation of AMD vs. Nvidia in the discrete graphics space. If you look at the discrete graphics card sales Nvidia does indeed dwarf AMD by a factor of 5:1 or more. Customers primarily using integrated graphics don't have a lot to do with the competition between AMD and Nvidia.

Re: Nvidia Partner Program - Illegal?

Posted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 11:14 am
by Glorious
RAGEPRO wrote:
I don't have a dog in this fight, but I thought it topical to stop in and remark that this chart isn't particularly relevant to the conversation of AMD vs. Nvidia in the discrete graphics space. If you look at the discrete graphics card sales Nvidia does indeed dwarf AMD by a factor of 5:1 or more.


And if you look at integrated graphics they're not dominant by the same amount or more.

Everything else remaining the same, why should one favor the discrete graphics market over the integrated one?

Especially since in the vast majority of cases people buying a discrete Nvidia GPU already bought a integrated one, and in *ALL* cases they bought a CPU from the other companies?

EDIT: Even more importantly, in US regulatory law, "Monopoly Power" isn't simply a matter of a market dominance in a particular market, forget a submarket, in the first place. If that dominance is reversed in a super-set of that market, this just gets silly: "ETSY HAS MARKET DOMINANCE IN HANDICRAFTS, SO STOP WITH FUD LIKE GRAPHS ABOUT AMAZON ONLINE SALES MARKET SHARE and who cares if Amazon is shopping this evil Etsy story around!"

*yes, yes, AMD is vastly smaller than Nvidia(despite their revenues being very comparable), but AMD is now doing deals with Intel for on-package GPUs, right?

RAGEPRO wrote:
Customers primarily using integrated graphics don't have a lot to do with the competition between AMD and Nvidia


Because there literally isn't any?

Re: Nvidia Partner Program - Illegal?

Posted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 11:35 am
by cegras
By your logic, there is no such thing as a monopoly since the TAM for any company is a subset of the entire global market. Intel doesn't have a monopoly on server chips because its server chip shipments are only a small fraction of total chips of any kind shipped.

There's also a question of whether this practice is questionable or not, and a business lawyer should weigh in: are companies allowed to pay middle-men not to sell competitor's products? Naively, it would seem that ultimately customers should be the sole deciders of purchasing decisions, with advertising falling into a grey area.

Re: Nvidia Partner Program - Illegal?

Posted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 11:38 am
by Ryu Connor
cegras wrote:
By your logic, there is no such thing as a monopoly since the TAM for any company is a subset of the entire global market. Intel doesn't have a monopoly on server chips because its server chip shipments are only a small fraction of total chips of any kind shipped.


You've gotten monopoly and monopsony confused.

Re: Nvidia Partner Program - Illegal?

Posted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 11:45 am
by cegras
I don't think so? Any chip maker sells chips to a wider and wider network of buyers through various middle men layers. At no point is there a sole buyer that is abusing its purchasing power to influence the market. If HP was the only server maker that would be what you describe.

Nvidia does not compete much, if at all, in the integrated GPU business. If it becomes the sole supplier of products in its market segment by pushing AMD out, it would by definition be a monopoly.