After a year of record growth, Nvidia has been elected 2007 company of the year by financial magazine Forbes. The graphics firm shares the honor with the likes of Best Buy, Pfizer, and Seagate Technology, which have also earned the distinction in recent years. According to Forbes, the combination of Nvidia's recent performance—especially contrasted with that of AMD—and the strides it has made since its creation in 1993 make it worthy of the title:
The Santa Clara, Calif. firm has 62% of the market for desktop PC graphics cards, up from 57% a year ago, according to Mercury Research. Its archrival ATI stumbled badly last year in the two-company horse race for technical superiority and was bought by chipmaker AMD for $5.4 billion. In a PC industry racked by deflation, Nvidia has managed to increase its gross margin from 29% in 2004 to a current 46%. In the fiscal year ending in a few weeks Nvidia will gross $4 billion, up 33%, and net $900 million, up 50%. Since Huang took the company public in 1999, Nvidia's shares have risen 21-fold, edging out even the mighty Apple (nasdaq: AAPL - news - people ) over the same time period. Such accomplishments, over the last 12 months and the past five years, earn Nvidia the title of forbes' Company of the Year.
The rest of Forbes' article is largely spent explaining exactly what Nvidia does in layman's terms, but it does contain a few interesting nuggets of information about Nvidia's future prospects and those of one of its future competitors.
Regarding Nvidia, the business publication states in no uncertain terms, "The company's next generation of chips will be launched in the spring." And about Intel, which is expected to join the discrete graphics processor party in the not-too-distant future, Forbes says, "In 2008 it plans to demonstrate a multicore chip named Larrabee that may steal some of the market for high-end graphics chips." (Thanks to TR reader Linda for the tip.)