NVIDIA responded to a Monday court filing in which Intel alleged that the four-year old chipset license agreement the companies signed does not extend to Intel's new integrated memory controllers which are found in the Core i7 (Nehalem) processors. NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang says NVIDIA is confident their licenses applies to Nehalem as well, and claims Intel is attempting to stifle innovation to protect its CPU business.
"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.
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.