FED UP WITH AMD hogging all the limelight over Intel's European antitrust debacle, vocal Nvidia CEO, Jen-Hsun Huang has joined the fray with his own accusations against Chipzilla for anti-competitive business practices he claims freeze his firm out of the netbook chipset market.
Intel, said Huang, sells its Atom processor to OEMs for $45 a piece on its own, but when paired with an Intel chipset, the combined price magically drops to just $25, something Huang sees as a ploy to lure computer makers away from his firm's alternative Ion platform -an Atom processor paired with an Nvidia chipset. This, says the green queen, "seems pretty unfair".
"We ought to be able to compete and serve that market," Huang told Reuters in the wake of Intel's €1.06 billion slap at the hands of the European Commission, which found Intel guilty of attempting to freeze competitor AMD out of the market through OEM rebates and incentives.
Intel immediately dismissed Huang's harangue as cobblers, with a spokesperson insisting "We compete fairly." He added Chipzilla never forced bundles on OEMs and that they were free to choose to buy Atom alone or as part of a processor/chipset bundle.
"If you want to purchase the chipset, obviously there is better pricing," he added. "Better" being a bit of an understatement at almost half price.
The INQUIRER asked an Nvidia spokesman how much an Ion chipset would set OEMs back, but he told us he wasn't sure offhand and would have to check. Either way, buying an Atom individually and adding an Ion chipset, whatever it costs, is not exactly an attractive option in the current (or any) economy. Theoretically, and again, depending on Ion's price, it would probably be more worthwhile for OEMs to buy Intel's Atom bundle, chuck the chipset in the bin and hook up an Ion to it instead.
Chipzilla has an unfair advantage, since the firm is big enough, rich enough and has an excess of Atom processors to unload at cost, thereby being able to thrash Nvidia price wise in a very price sensitive market segment.
But Huang says he won't play the antitrust law suit card at the moment. "I hope it doesn't come down to that," he said, adding, however, that Nvidia would do what it had to do "when the time comes".
Huang concluded with the hope Intel wouldn't choose to go down that path and would consider competing on "a fair basis" from now on. µ
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