Asia Express - East Asian ICT
Computing - Intel Inks License Deal With Nvidia
November 23, 2004
Intel went public recently with news of a cross-license agreement that it has signed with computer graphics chip designer Nvidia Corp. The agreement opens the door for Nvidia to begin selling its nForce chipset in computers that use Intel processors. Other terms of the agreement were not disclosed.


The deal is seen as an opportunity for Nvidia to significantly broaden the market for its graphics chips. Presently, the nForce chip set, which powers graphics and other multimedia features for PCs, is offered only on computers that operate with AMD processors.


The Intel agreement with Nvidia is telling for what it suggests about the state of the chipset market as a whole. Intel has dominated the market for chipsets that support its Pentium 4 CPU series, effectively pushing out other chipset makers such as VIA, SiS, ULi Electronics, Nvidia, and ATI. The result was that many chipset makers started shifting their production focus to chipsets that support AMD platforms. For instance, the share of shipment volume held by K7 and K8 platform chipsets has risen recently for each of these chipset makers, even to the point of exceeding the share of chipsets produced for Intel platforms. Intel's agreement with Nvidia could be seen as countermeasure aimed at slowing AMD's rising stock among chipset makers.


Nvidia is not the first company to make this kind of arrangement with Intel. ATI has a similar cross-license with Intel, and it produces an integrated chip set for Intel processors. VIA Technologies and Silicon Integrated Systems also have their own cross-license agreements with Intel.