Nvidia and Intel to settle chipset licensing lawsuit?

No one is suggesting that Intel and Nvidia are going to be BFFs anytime soon, but a posting today over at SemiAccurate indicates there’s a chance a settlement will be reached in the bitter chipset licensing lawsuit between the two companies. In a nutshell, the lawsuit was sparked by Intel’s desire to keep Nvidia from making chipsets for its Nehalem-based Core processors.

Multiple anonymous sources reportedly believe that, under the terms of the settlement, Nvidia will receive $1 billion in cash. The site adds, "Intel on the other hand will likely be getting licenses to Nvidia patents, and Intel is rumored to not have given up an x86 license that Nvidia has been fishing for." There’s no word on whether the settlement terms will allow Nvidia to resume making Intel chipsets, although that probably wouldn’t do much good—Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang made it clear this summer that his company’s chipset development days are behind it.

The article goes on to state that this settlement will likely be announced in mid-December. If so, Nvidia should really be able to celebrate the holidays in style with a $1-billion Christmas bonus.

Comments closed
    • iatacs19
    • 9 years ago

    It’s all good news to me as long as NVDA keeps posting gains. It’s already the worst the performing stock of 2010 on NASDAQ… LOL

    • herothezero
    • 9 years ago

    q[<#12, Fsck that. The last board I had with an nvidia chipset was an nforce4 board and nfurnace4 was hot and buggy. Yeah, it was better than competing chipsets at the time, but AMD made progress while nvidia just rebranded their stuff over multiple generations and let their edge slip away. <]q Using that pseudo-logic, no one should ever buy an Intel CPU again because they released Prescott on the market.

      • crabjokeman
      • 9 years ago

      Prescott was the deviant. nvidia, on the other hand always has relatively high power consumption and lots of rebranding. Until they prove otherwise, I stand by my logic.

    • blastdoor
    • 9 years ago

    Intel has basically made a move to kick NV out of the world of x86. NV shouldn’t bother fighting it and just use that $1 billion to fund development of future products that look away from the x86 world. For example, they could compete for the next round of consoles using an ARM+GPU solution. And who knows, maybe someday somebody will make a popular product that uses Tegra.

    They can keep selling discrete graphics cards for as long as it’s profitable to do so, but that is clearly not their future.

      • esterhasz
      • 9 years ago

      It’s a difficult decision: NV still has in-house knowledge on chipsets and their Apple deals force them to keep some of that staff, even if they would like to shift that workforce to the ARM SoC group. At the same time, ARM is a risky bet:
      1) It is far from sure that the necessary enhancements that went into Cortex (out of order execution, etc) will pave the way to far higher performance levels.
      2) We don’t know yet how badly Samsung wants that market. If they decide to seriously compete, it’s going to be ugly…

      we’ll see…

      • Kurotetsu
      • 9 years ago

      It would be interesting (though probably not smart) to see Nvidia try and produce a gaming console. They certainly have the graphics know-how and ARM should certainly have the horsepower and energy efficiency. But most importantly, they have all their links to the gaming industry. It shouldn’t be much of a stretch of their resources at all to convince gaming devs to produce exclusive content for such a thing.

        • blastdoor
        • 9 years ago

        That is an interesting idea, although the console market seems a little crowded. But it’s fun to think about… They could take an “AppleTV” approach to a console — sell it for $99, have no optical drive, an HDMI port for output, limited local storage, and then use the cloud to store the games that people “purchase”. Maybe team with google on that “cloud” aspect of it.

        Of course, the difference between their device and the actual appleTV would be more powerful hardware CPU/GPU.

    • Hattig
    • 9 years ago

    I wonder if Apple have been pressing NVIDIA for a QPI chipset for Nehalems and Sandy Bridge for their next products. Apple don’t seem to like Intel graphics because of the low performance and graphical and computation weaknesses. It might be that NVIDIA have the products designed already.

    Or they truly have pulled out of the market for good, and the $1b in part pays for loss of revenue. Maybe Apple will reject Intel as well (Apple clearly state that they don’t care about top performance, it’s about having rounded features): §[<http://www.fudzilla.com/notebooks/item/20850-apple-will-indeed-use-fusion<]§ Next quarter's financials will look nice for NVIDIA though!

      • sschaem
      • 9 years ago

      One way of another, nvidia will be delegated to add on GPU on macpro by late 2011.
      Nothing wrong with, since nvidia will also be in 60 million mobile devices with tegra. Apple, might switch to tegra for their ios devices… or simply acquire nvidia.

    • fredsnotdead
    • 9 years ago

    l[<"Intel on the other hand will likely be getting licenses to Nvidia patents"<]l Did everyone miss this part? If you can't beat them, buy them off -- this is how Intel will get into the graphics market and eventually crush both Nvidia and AMD.

      • dpaus
      • 9 years ago

      On the surface, yes. But in reality, Intel is paying Nvidia to just go away. But to preserve the ‘optics’ of the situation, they’ll get some patent licenses back in exchange for the bribe money, just to, you know, keep it all legal. Nvidia knows this full well, so you can bet that the patents that Intel gets for their $1B are likely worth little more than Fiddy Cent.

    • geekl33tgamer
    • 9 years ago

    FWIW, I have fond memories of my EVGA nForce 590i SLI that was retired from use 3 years ago. It was the only way for SLI on AM2 at the time, and it worked brilliantly.

    I would like them to go back to making them again – And why have they stopped making chipsets for AMD’s CPU’s? I’ve not looked recently, but can you even have SLI on AMD CPU’s anymore? There’s no way it’s working on AMD’s 800 series chipsets…

    • Krogoth
    • 9 years ago

    Nvidia already lost its niche that it had in the chipset business. I doubt it will regain it.

    The only reason it had a chance was back in Pre-ATI AMD days. They had no soild chipset platform for its desktops. This is where Nvidia took its hold in chipset via Nforce 1-4. It build the most momentium with the large success of K8 family. All good things must come to an end.

    Once Intel moved away from Netburst and came back with Conroe and its successors. AMD no longer had decisive edge in the CPU market. Nvidia tried to move to Intel’s arena, but Intel had soild chipset platforms of its own. It’s only gamble was exclusive SLI support. SLI only caters to a tiny niche. This niche was not enough to re-coup R&D cost. To make matters worse, AMD decided to acquire ATI and its IP for future platforms. This was the final blow to Nvidia’s tenious hold on chipset market. It is only a matter of time before it became unprofitable.

    Apple’s support for Nvidia chipset platforms was their life-line. But Intel’s QPI swiftly ended that. Unlike FSB and HTT, QPI is a propertary interface that is under Intel’s control. Naturally, Intel wanted some royalities for its usage. This is where this little legal battle is all about.

    • ronch
    • 9 years ago

    $1B? For big companies this amount is just a walk in the park, particularly Intel. Amazing, because 99% of the world’s population can only dream of having even just 1% of this amount. More amazing still, is the fact that these big companies keep screwing us every chance they get to gain even more money.

      • bill94el
      • 9 years ago

      Poor thing…must be a tough living YOUR life.

      Maybe we should chug on over to mamby-pamby land!

        • ronch
        • 9 years ago

        I’m not talking about MY life, FRIEND. Just look around you and you’ll see what I mean.

        My, you ARE one arrogant, ignorant, insensitive person. Hope YOU are enjoying a good life in your first-world country.

          • ludi
          • 9 years ago

          The way you jump to conclusions is something of an art. And like much in the world of modern art, I don’t get it.

            • ronch
            • 9 years ago

            What conclusion are you talking about? I’m just pushing back this fellow who thinks he’s some sort of know-it-all.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 9 years ago

            no he’s not, he’s quoting a Geico commercial.

            • SPOOFE
            • 9 years ago

            “/[

            • Faceless Clock
            • 9 years ago

            What?

            The entire point of capitalism is screwing other companies. Nothing else matters.

            • clone
            • 9 years ago

            amen brother, the point of capitalism is to be the first and last to screw anyone and everyone around you out of everything and anything you can.

            with public corporations they have a legal obligation to their shareholders to do so.

            as for Intel and Nvidia, bleh, neither company plays nice when they don’t have to, I’m surprised Nvidia is getting 1 billion out of this given it is Intel’s license to give/sell.

            I believe they saw the writing on the wall and walked away ahead of time, Intel wanted access to SLI and always had the better hand to get it with while Nvidia was silly to try and lock up SLI access at all hurting themselves in the process.

            • anotherengineer
            • 9 years ago

            You forgot screwing everyone including the consumers.

            Capitalism fail, good thing there is a few laws to keep things in check and from becoming total anarchy.

            • ronch
            • 9 years ago

            I don’t know why anyone here would find my first comment disagreeable at all. I’m speaking on behalf and for the people and the consumer, which surely all of us are. It’s as if those who find it mistaken are either working for or own part of these big companies, or are living in a dream world oblivious to the lower class. And never was it written there that I am concluding that all big companies screw us. But if anyone wants an example of this, just look at the oil companies and other companies who put their heads together to fix or bloat prices.

    • beck2448
    • 9 years ago

    Anti competition move. Its never good for the consumer.

      • NeelyCam
      • 9 years ago

      So, what kind of conclusion to this lawsuit would you have preferred?

    • ThorAxe
    • 9 years ago

    I’d still like to see Nvidia making chipsets again. I remember my nForce 2, nForce 4 and 680i boards fondly, and competition is always a good thing.

      • crabjokeman
      • 9 years ago

      Fsck that. The last board I had with an nvidia chipset was an nforce4 board and nfurnace4 was hot and buggy. Yeah, it was better than competing chipsets at the time, but AMD made progress while nvidia just rebranded their stuff over multiple generations and let their edge slip away.

    • herothezero
    • 9 years ago

    q[

      • Game_boy
      • 9 years ago

      Not really, because Nvidia leaving did not create a monopoly. AMD is still motivated to keep their chipsets high quality and feature rich because they need them to sell CPUs against Intel, and vice versa.

      Nvidia was useful when AMD did not make good chipsets of its own and when its and ATI’s integrated graphics were the only decent options. But now Intel’s has caught up to ‘passable’ and AMD bought ATI’s so we still have two options there.

        • rado992
        • 9 years ago

        Well, no, I don’t think we really have that many opitons. For an Intel-based system, how many chipset vendors are there? One? That’s right. AMD at least doesn’t bully competitors into not making chipsets for their platform, but nvidia was the only realistic remaining alterantive to AMD’s own chipsets anyway, so there’s no competition there, either.
        I most sincerely hope I’m wrong on this one, but IMO, the future of PCs doesn’t look so exciting. With the GPUs moving on-die with the CPUs already, soon we will only have two options: AMD APU or Intel APU. Only the enthusiast market (which is tiny compared to the others) will live on a little longer, but after a while, it will surely become “inconvenient” for AMD or Intel. At which point they might simply “forget” to support it any longer, much like Intel “accidentally” linked the BCLK on their Sandy Bridge CPUs to the uncore part of the CPU, effectively locking it to only variating +- 10%. Of course, we will get many “legitimate” reasons for their actions, but the fact remains that we will have much less diversity in the future as AMD and Intel become not CPU brand names, but platform brand names.

          • Game_boy
          • 9 years ago

          Yes. The last 100 years of the business world have been mostly consolidation into two large competitors per market. It’s not perfect, but it isn’t a monopoly yet.

            • dpaus
            • 9 years ago

            No, it’s called ‘oligopoly’ and it’s just as bad.

        • Deanjo
        • 9 years ago

        l[

          • Game_boy
          • 9 years ago

          And that is possibly losing them business. It’s not complacency due to lack of competition, it is something else (incompetence, lack of resources, Linux shre not high enough, other priorities etc.).

    • kroker
    • 9 years ago

    A billion to Nvidia, a billion to AMD… Hey Intel, your evil marketing practices led to prohibitive prices which prevented me from enjoying the best multimedia experience possible with the fastest hexa-core, thereby causing me irreparable damage, and thus hurting consumers. I want a billion dollars pronto for my grief! It’s all an evil conspiracy, Intel should offer everything anyone needs from them or else pay them a billion dollars.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 9 years ago

    Intel -[

      • flip-mode
      • 9 years ago

      Lol. When you put it that way, this does sound good.

      • Deanjo
      • 9 years ago

      r[

        • MadManOriginal
        • 9 years ago

        Crossfire was always far more open than SLI so idk wtf you’re talking about…your Linux nerd-rage notwithstanding, but that’s a separate issue.

    • ltcommander.data
    • 9 years ago

    I don’t know about nVidia not developing chipsets anymore. Certainly Apple would prefer nVidia continue developing IGP chipsets to complement Intel processors. If it prevents Apple from jumping ship to AMD, know doubt with Steve Jobs usual high profile showmanship, Intel may look the other way to nVidia re-entering the market.

      • Game_boy
      • 9 years ago

      They stated on record in the conference call that their chipset business will be effectively zero by the end of 2011, and the majority of the revenue now comes from Apple anyway.

        • FuturePastNow
        • 9 years ago

        Corporations lie a lot.

    • sschaem
    • 9 years ago

    Doesn’t nvidia already got over 2 billion in cash in the bank?

    An extra billion is nice, but I wonder if nvidia employee will get fat bonus and 10% raises like at google ..

    AMD settled for way to little…

      • Game_boy
      • 9 years ago

      They settled for what they could negotiate. Declining and waiting until 2015 or so for the appeals to conclude with the possibility of a higher payout wasn’t worth it given AMD’s financial state just a few quarters ago. The Intel money helped put them out of the danger zone in part.

    • Deanjo
    • 9 years ago

    Next up, AMD for locking nvidia out of their chipsets…..

      • Meadows
      • 9 years ago

      That actually made me giggle. Would be baaad.

      • w00tstock
      • 9 years ago

      Someone seems bitter.

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