updated 03:20 pm EST, Wed February 18, 2009
Intel on Lawsuit vs NVIDIA
Intel today responded to NVIDIA's complaints in the dispute over chipset licensing with signs that it may be willing to partly soften its stance. Discussing the case, which has since been revealed as a non-punitive lawsuit against NVIDIA, Intel spokesman Chuck Malloy tells Bit-Tech that he "wouldn't rule out" his company negotiating a new license with NVIDIA that would let the latter produce mainboard chipsets for Core i7-era processors, even if Intel wins its suit and bars NVIDIA from using its existing license for the technology.
However, Malloy describes a renegotiated license as just one of the options and doesn't rule out more severe responses. Other options are on the table but are "confidential" at the moment, he says. The lawsuit itself is also secret as it includes excerpts from the license itself, which is also confidential and thus can't be a part of the public record.
Such a deal gives NVIDIA and PC makers a possible reprieve. If NVIDIA loses in the case, the company would go without chipsets to replace its existing Core 2-capable mainboard designs and would leave partners like Apple, Toshiba and others with little alternative but to use Intel's design.
NVIDIA maintains that Intel's lawsuit is an attempt to squelch products with superior graphics performance by limiting choices in integrated video to Intel's own technology, even when the option is noticeably slower or less energy-efficient. The Ion platform is particularly important to NVIDIA in this regard as it promises 1080p HD video and other technical features on an Atom-based PC that are difficult or impossible with Intel's reference hardware.