Nvidia CEO attacks Intel Atom pricing strategy

Written by Tim Smalley

May 19, 2009 // 2:37 p.m.

Tags: #action #atom #ceo #comment #complaint #intel #legal #nvidia #pricing #strategy

When the European Commission ruled that Intel was guilty of anti-competitive business practices last week, we were surprised that Nvidia didn’t add its own view of the announcement when AMD weighed in. But it wasn’t going to be long before someone at the company said something.

Not surprisingly, that someone was Jen-Hsung Huang, Nvidia’s CEO and President, who said Intel’s chip pricing “pretty unfair” in an interview with Reuters.

According to Huang, Intel sells an Atom processor on its own for $45, but sells Atom, the 945GSE IGP and ICH7 southbridge for a combined $25 to lure business away from its competitors.

After all, any manufacturer looking to use a third party chipset (such as Nvidia’s GeForce 9400M) with an Atom processor will be at a $20 disadvantage without factoring in the cost of the additional chipset.

We ought to be able to compete and serve that market,” said Huang. “I hope it doesn’t come down to [legal action]. We have to do whatever we have to do when the time comes. We really hope [Intel] will compete on a fair basis.[/i]”

Intel was quick to dismiss Huang’s comments and insisted that “we compete fairly.” The spokesperson continued by saying that Intel has never forced bundles onto OEMs and that they were free to choose to buy Atom on its own or as a processor/chipset bundle. “If you want to purchase the chipset, obviously there is better pricing,” he added.

We’ve asked Nvidia a number of questions about Intel’s Atom bundling strategy, but are yet to receive a response to any of our queries. It goes without saying though that we’re concerned that the price difference is too great to make Ion-based machines attractive – I guess we’ll find out specific pricing on Ion-based machines at Computex, but in the meantime we’ll keep our ears to the ground.

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