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HardOCP: NVIDIA GeForce Partner Program is anticompetitive

Posted on Friday, March 09 2018 @ 17:57:55 CET by

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HardOCP's Kyle Bennett has written an article about NVIDIA's GeForce Partner Program, claiming this marketing initiative is harmful to consumers. The site admits the news behind the article was handed on a silver platter by AMD, but further investigation and interviews with OEMs and AIBs confirmed there was a story to tell.

Basically, the site alleges that the GeForce Partner Program forces video card makers to no longer sell products from the competition. To become part of the GeForce Partner Program, a company needs to align its gaming brand exclusively with GeForce. HardOCP claims that this means that if a company like ASUS is a GPP partner, it could no longer sell Radeon GPUs under its ROG brand:
What would it mean to have your "Gaming Brand Aligned Exclusively With GeForce?" The example that will likely resonate best with HardOCP readers is the ASUS Republic of Gamers brand. I have no knowledge if ASUS is a GPP partner, I am simply using the ROG brand hypothetically. If ASUS is an NVIDIA GPP partner, and it wants to continue to use NVIDIA GPUs in its ROG branded video cards, computers, and laptops, it can no longer sell any other company's GPUs in ROG products. So if ASUS want to keep building NVIDIA-based ROG video cards, it can no longer sell AMD-based ROG video cards, and be a GPP partner.
So are there any consequences to not joining the GPP? On paper, there aren't but companies reportedly feel forced to join the program as they're afraid that NVIDIA could otherwise hold back GPU inventory:
What is disturbing is that we have been told that if a company does not participate in GPP, those companies feel as if NVIDIA would hold back allocation of GPUs from their inventories. From all we have talked to, the issue of not allocating GPU inventories to non-GPP partners have not been spelled out contractually, but is rather done on a wink and a nod.
You can read the full piece over here.



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