nVidia finds out Intel doesn’t want to share.
As you probably already know, nVidia has come up with a chipset for Atom processors called Ion. It provides a good deal more video oomph than the Intel 945 chipsets that now gets packaged with every Atom sold, enough to handle HD.
Well, Intel is definitely not in the holiday spirit, and has said that it will not sell any Atom without a 945 chipset or cooperate in the least with nVidia when it comes to Atom. The Intel comments do sound like they were drafted by Pre-Ghost Scrooge. nVidia will no doubt try to spin themselves into looking like Bob Crachit, if not Tiny Tim, though this looks more like peer-to-peer to me.
It’s going to be very, very hard for nVidia to give birth to this Son of Atom if anyone who would like to build an Ion system has to pay for an Intel 945 paperweight with that Atom. They could make ubergeeky Christmas tree ornaments, but at about $50 a pop, I don’t think they’d be a red-hot seller.
Yes, Intel might look mean doing this, but letting nVidia in at this point means giving up much if not most of Atom chipset revenue. That would definitely be in the Christmas spirit, but the day after, Intel shareholders might see this as being more like Good Friday, and they will not understand why they’re being crucified to save nVidia. What’s in it for them?
On the other hand, nVidia is going to look xTremely naïVe, if not plain stupid, if it looks like they spent R&D on a mobo based on the belief that Santa Clara was going to turn into Santa Claus. Even Tiny Tim knew better than to expect something for nothing from Classic Scrooge, and it’s going to take more than ghosts to get Intel to just give it up.
Will Intel ever let nVidia in the Atom inn? The answer, again, is, “What’s in it for Intel?” They’re going to have to give Intel something it wants: maybe money, maybe graphics IP, probably both. All that’s happening now is the two company is establishing their initial positions. nVidia wants in for nothing, Intel is offering nothing.
For some reason, corporations feel the need to put on a public show which is often looks like a PR/legal version of professional wrestling while the real negotiations take place in private. Both parties make noises and flex their legal muscles while the real work is getting done, and then one day out of the blue, all the fake posturing is forgotten when the real deal gets announced. There’s no point saying any more than what we’ve said, outside of noting that this match seems to be just starting, so the eventual deal will probably come later, not sooner.