Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Intel Fills Suit Against NVIDIA In Chipset Argument

Intel has filled a lawsuit against NVIDIA over the right to create and sell motherboard chipsets that support Intel's Nehalem (Core i7) desktop processors. The company alleges the previous agreement between the two companies does not include production of chipsets supporting any of Intel's newest processors or future chips that support integrated memory controller functionality. NVIDIA claims those agreements weren't limited to the licensing of specific products nor did they carry a specific expiration date.

According to Bit-Tech Intel release the following statement:

"Intel has filed suit against Nvidia seeking a declaratory judgment over rights associated with two agreements between the companies. The suit seeks to have the court declare that Nvidia is not licensed to produce chipsets that are compatible with any Intel processor that has integrated memory controller functionality, such as Intel’s Nehalem microprocessors and that Nvidia has breached the agreement with Intel by falsely claiming that it is licensed. Intel has been in discussions with Nvidia for more than a year attempting to resolve the matter but unfortunately we were unsuccessful. As a result Intel is asking the court to resolve this dispute."

NVIDIA responded in full today with a press release:

NVIDIA Corporation today responded to a Monday court filing (Court of Chancery in the State of Delaware) in which Intel alleged that the four-year-old chipset license agreement the companies signed does not extend to Intel’s future generation CPUs with “integrated” memory controllers, such as Nehalem. The filing does not impact NVIDIA chipsets that are currently being shipped.

“We are confident that our license, as negotiated, applies,” said Jen-Hsun Huang, president and CEO of NVIDIA. “At the heart of this issue is that the CPU has run its course and the soul of the PC is shifting quickly to the GPU. This is clearly an attempt to stifle innovation to protect a decaying CPU business.”

NVIDIA entered into the agreement in 2004 in order to bring platform innovations to Intel CPU based systems. In return, Intel took a license to NVIDIA’s rich portfolio of 3D, GPU, and other computing patents.

Since signing the agreement, NVIDIA has offered innovations such as SLI, Hybrid power, and CUDA™ parallel processing. ION™, the most recent innovation, integrates a powerful NVIDIA GPU, north bridge and south bridge into one compact die. When combined with a CPU, ION enables a two-chip PC architecture for Intel processors two years ahead of Intel’s own solution. In addition, the ION platform offers 10x the performance of Intel’s current three chip design.1

The industry and consumers now count on innovations from NVIDIA. Microsoft recently endorsed ION because it offers consumers the first truly affordable premium Windows experience. Late last year Apple selected NVIDIA’s chipset for its entire new line of notebooks including the MacBook Classic, MacBook Air, MacBook and MacBook Pro. Today, companies like Acer, Alienware, Asus, Dell, Falcon Northwest, Fujitsu, Gigabyte, HP, Lenovo, MSI, NEC, and Toshiba all ship exciting innovations created by NVIDIA as a result of its agreement with Intel.

Huang said that, given the broad and growing adoption of NVIDIA’s platform innovations, it is not surprising that Intel is now initiating a dispute over a contract signed four years ago. Innovations like ION, SLI, Hybrid power, and CUDA threaten Intel’s ability to control the PC platform.

NVIDIA has been attempting to resolve the disagreement with Intel in a fair and reasonable manner for over a year. NVIDIA’s chipsets for Intel’s current CPU bus interface are not affected by the dispute.

Source: NVIDIA Press Release

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