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Microsoft and Nvidia Have Acquisition Pact

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the you-scratcha-my-back dept.

Microsoft 136

An anonymous reader writes "Infoweek is reporting that Microsoft has obtained the exclusive right to match any buyout offers for Nvidia. The obscure pact was uncovered in SEC documents, and apparently stems from Microsoft's licensing of Nvidia chips for the Xbox. But its real value now lies in the fact that Nvidia has become a major player in tablet chips, including chips for Windows 8 slates."

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I say the oppsite (3, Insightful)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#36334534)

when XBOX was using nvidia chips (thats XBOX1, 360 uses an ATI system) Nvidia was a smaller company in a fairly new and fairly niche industry catering JUST to game geeks.

its not the same playing field in 2011

Nvidia made Nforce Pro chips for severs / workstat (3, Informative)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 3 years ago | (#36334560)

Nvidia made Nforce Pro chips for severs / workstations as well some good intel / amd chipsets. Also made good intel chipsets before Intel locked them out.

Re:I say the oppsite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36334652)

Are you insane, lying, or stupid? Some combination of all three I suppose, because Nvidia was a major force before xbox was so much as a pissant of an idea.

Re:I say the oppsite (3, Interesting)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 3 years ago | (#36334904)

Yeh, that's bullshit.

Nvidia were already the premier graphics solution for professionals, they already had an established market and were making a fortune at the time selling gaming & professional chips. Microsoft did nothing other than guarantee sales of chips.

While I don't like Nvidia cards, they were already huge prior to the Xbox, so sitting there and saying they were a "niche industry" is just patently false. Unlike ATi they didn't get sold off to a processor maker. Maybe that's something to keep in mind. They didn't get a market position like that from the xbox (considering the sales numbers of xbox vs ps2), the 360 is the MS console that took off, and look who makes the chips for it.

This just seems like a typical corporate deal. It's not unusual, MS were relying on Nvidia not being sold to the competition and pricing MS out of making the Xbox. No company would be stupid enough to leave out any clauses preventing or delaying sale of a supplier to a competitor when inking such a major deal. It was major for MS, but really, Nvidia could have taken or left it.

Re:I say the oppsite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36335248)

My god.....Momma's boy there ^

Wherever you get your information, whether it be mental retardation or repeating things you hear other idiots say..... You're dead wrong. Grow up and only speak up when you actually know what you're talking about... god damn. Everybody wants to be a know it all. I bet you use Linux. Because you're not one of the Windows idiots right?

Error 503 - Open Sores Fail (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36334538)

Way to showcase open sores software, Slashdot.

I haven't seen this many bugs since the last time I used Linux.

Re:Error 503 - Open Sores Fail (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36334822)

I haven't seen this many bugs since those crotch-shots of kathleen fent.

Soo, if I wanted to bankrupt Microsoft (3, Funny)

mozumder (178398) | more than 3 years ago | (#36334540)

I just go to nVidia and tell them I'm going to buy them out for $10 trillion?

Re:Soo, if I wanted to bankrupt Microsoft (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36334574)

I just go to nVidia and tell them I'm going to buy them out for $10 trillion?

The agreement says that Microsoft CAN match any buyout offers for Nvidia. It doesn't require Microsoft to.

Re:Soo, if I wanted to bankrupt Microsoft (1)

ZorinLynx (31751) | more than 3 years ago | (#36334620)

That doesn't make any sense. Why does there need to be a pact for Microsoft to be able to match an offer? Can't they just match the offer, pact or not?

I just don't see the point of the pact if it doesn't really require anyone to do anything.

Re:Soo, if I wanted to bankrupt Microsoft (3, Insightful)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 3 years ago | (#36334674)

Presumably, Nvidia's side of the agreement is that if Microsoft chooses to match an offer, Nvidia has to accept Microsoft's offer instead of whoever else made an offer.

Re:Soo, if I wanted to bankrupt Microsoft (2)

recoiledsnake (879048) | more than 3 years ago | (#36334714)

Presumably, Nvidia's side of the agreement is that if Microsoft chooses to match an offer, Nvidia has to accept Microsoft's offer instead of whoever else made an offer.

That doesn't make any sense. All this agreement will do is turn it into a bidding war instead of a silent and secret deal behind doors.

Re:Soo, if I wanted to bankrupt Microsoft (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36334800)

At the time Microsoft wanted to assure their supply line. If Sony bought NVidia they could decide that they no longer wished to make certain products, like the chips used in the XBox. MS basically reserved the right to buy NVidia if anyone else tried to aquire them (which would also give them the rights to the chips as well making them then able to farm out the fabrication to another company)

Re:Soo, if I wanted to bankrupt Microsoft (2)

Locutus (9039) | more than 3 years ago | (#36335146)

so Nvidia signed an open pact without any regard to Microsoft products using Nvidia chips? Just how many years had Nvidia's lawyers completed before they signed this kind of agreement with no less than Microsoft? Can we call them lawyers if they hadn't passed the Bar yet?

all I'll say is what idiots. Maybe they used to be Sun Microsystem Java licensing lawyers.

LoB

Re:Soo, if I wanted to bankrupt Microsoft (2)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 3 years ago | (#36335304)

Business 101, when you have a big customer like Ms or Walmart you make amends as to not loose such a huge opportunity and give a competitor like ATI the deal. Suppliers hate things like bulk discounts too and it hurts mom and pop shops. But a smaller profit margin and annoying clauses are better than nothing. There are laws about insider trading which limit public knowledge about aquisitions. We didnt know about the skype deal until after it was locked by MS.

Re:Soo, if I wanted to bankrupt Microsoft (3, Insightful)

Bacon Bits (926911) | more than 3 years ago | (#36335480)

Just how many years had Nvidia's lawyers completed before they signed this kind of agreement with no less than Microsoft?

More than you, clearly.

"We agree that you will have tens of millions of sales of your product for which we will pay you, and should anyone try to buy your company, we can offer to buy you out for the same price. So if you get one offer to be bought out, you pretty much get two."

You know what happens when a company is bought out? The executives, lawyers, and owners/shareholders make a boatload of cash. This was basically win/win for nVidia (unless they had really good prospects or wanted to be bought out by another company) while assuring MS that they won't lose the source of their chips to a competitor without a chance to stop it. All this does is discourage other parties from making lowball offers. All MS would do is hold on to nVidia until they no longer needed the chips, then spin it off.

Re:Soo, if I wanted to bankrupt Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36335632)

How is this in any way a bad thing for NVidia?

Seriously. The only downside I can see is that they can't sign this same agreement with anybody else.

Re:Soo, if I wanted to bankrupt Microsoft (2)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 3 years ago | (#36335628)

That doesn't make any sense. All this agreement will do is turn it into a bidding war instead of a silent and secret deal behind doors.

Actually, no. It will have the reverse effect -- no bids. There is no incentive to bid because MS only has to match your bid and then MS wins. The deck is stacked heavily in MS's favor, so why bid at all?

This deal reduces the acquisition value of nVidia because it will put off many companies from bidding.

Re:Soo, if I wanted to bankrupt Microsoft (1)

beuges (613130) | more than 3 years ago | (#36336022)

It won't get the chance to become a bidding war:
RandomCompany: Nvidia, we want to buy you for $10billion
Microsoft: Nvidia, we are buying you for $10billion

Nvidia has to accept Microsoft's matched offer, so even if $random raises to $15b, Nvidia was already required to have accepted MS's matched bid.

Re:Soo, if I wanted to bankrupt Microsoft (1)

bryan1945 (301828) | more than 3 years ago | (#36336152)

If this works like it does in sports, if MS increases the bid by $1, they win and are then required to pay. No bidding war. Of course, this is not sports, so only the lawyers really know how it works.

Re:Soo, if I wanted to bankrupt Microsoft (3, Informative)

Local ID10T (790134) | more than 3 years ago | (#36334684)

I just don't see the point of the pact if it doesn't really require anyone to do anything.

It requires Nvidia to give Microsoft a chance to buy them out before they sell to someone else. It is generally known as a right of first refusal.

Re:Soo, if I wanted to bankrupt Microsoft (1)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 3 years ago | (#36334962)

What it does is gives MS the power to step in should Nvidia decide to sell up to one of MS's competitors (Sony & Nintendo come to mind). MS has no interest in buying Nvidia (if anything it might land MS in hot water), but they do have an interest in buying Nvidia then reselling them to a nice MS partner should Nvidia be taking offers from competitors.

There's nothing really wrong with this, I know I'd want to protect my business when millions of dollars of R&D hinge on one chip maker. I doubt they'd have felt the same instability with Intel due to their huge investment in keeping things in line with MS.

Re:Soo, if I wanted to bankrupt Microsoft (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#36334584)

if you had a way to show you had 10 trillion to blow, ... yea

Re:Soo, if I wanted to bankrupt Microsoft (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#36334748)

Never mind the part where it is an option, not an obligation.

Re:Soo, if I wanted to bankrupt Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36334586)

no. microsoft has the option to match.

doesn't have to. and wouldn't for 10 trillion.

Re:Soo, if I wanted to bankrupt Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36334764)

They have the right to match an offer, not the obligation. If it would bankrupt them, I strongly doubt they'd choose to exercise that right.

Re:Soo, if I wanted to bankrupt Microsoft (1)

Izhido (702328) | more than 3 years ago | (#36334916)

Well, if you actually have the 10 trillion to backup your claim, bankrupting MS is actually a piece of cake... no need to get Nvidia involved or anything :)

Re:Soo, if I wanted to bankrupt Microsoft (1)

user32.ExitWindowsEx (250475) | more than 3 years ago | (#36335226)

10 trillion USD...Maybe he's Ben Bernanke.

Re:Soo, if I wanted to bankrupt Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36335152)

You're an idiot. Please stop posting here.

Re:Soo, if I wanted to bankrupt Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36335832)

I just go to nVidia and tell them I'm going to buy them out for $10 trillion?

They have the right to match it, they don't have to do so. Hope you have the $10 trillion just sitting around under your bed or something.

Re:Soo, if I wanted to bankrupt Microsoft (1)

bryan1945 (301828) | more than 3 years ago | (#36336148)

This sounds like a 'right of first refusal' clause used in sports. You can make an offer, but the owner of the clause (here, MS), has the right to match or better the offer. It's not a clause that forces them to match, just the opportunity to do so.

Ugh (0)

Lanteran (1883836) | more than 3 years ago | (#36334544)

Please don't let the only decent linux graphics card vendor (sorry, AMD's still not up to it and intel's not powerful enough) get too much in bed with microsoft.

Re:Ugh (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36334582)

This pact is more than a decade old, and you're worried about them getting "too much in bed with microsoft" because you now know about this deal? Paranoid much??

Re:Ugh (2)

Lanteran (1883836) | more than 3 years ago | (#36335082)

Paranoid much??

Yes.

Re:Ugh (1)

formfeed (703859) | more than 3 years ago | (#36335266)

Paranoid much??

Yes.

We know...

Re:Ugh (1)

butalearner (1235200) | more than 3 years ago | (#36334686)

Please don't let the only decent linux graphics card vendor (sorry, AMD's still not up to it and intel's not powerful enough) get too much in bed with microsoft.

I know this was true couple years ago, but I was under the impression that this is changing very rapidly, especially if you have a certain subset of cards that are highly supported by the open source AMD driver. I was planning on choosing AMD for my next desktop build, and I'm not saying that just for the whole Freedom thing. I will agree about Intel, though.

Re:Ugh (1)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 3 years ago | (#36335804)

AMD/ATI support is fine now, but with NVIDIA you're basically guaranteed to stay supported for a long time, since there's quite a large community programming with CUDA on Linux. The only possibility of NVIDIA dropping Linux support is if they sign some sort of deal with MS that makes CUDA exclusive to Windows... Which would make quite a few people in the scientific community shit their pants.

Re:Ugh (1)

makomk (752139) | more than 3 years ago | (#36336320)

AMD/ATI support is fine now, but with NVIDIA you're basically guaranteed to stay supported for a long time, since there's quite a large community programming with CUDA on Linux.

That depends - do you mean support for new cards as they're released, or continued support for existing cards? NVidia are very good at supporting newer cards, but some of their older cards aren't really usable under Linux anymore, whereas it looks like older ATI cards will remain supported for a long time...

MS is not a hardware company (2)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#36334570)

Microsoft is not a hardware company and would most likely kill nVidia. Out of Microsoft's major hardware projects, the 360 was a complete failure in the hardware department, Surface, while neat is hardly a gamechanger, and the first Xbox had a major ergonomics flaw (I mean, were the controllers designed for giants or what) at first, and the internals were pretty much just generic PC hardware.

Re:MS is not a hardware company (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36334598)

Perhaps the use of generic PC hardware for a gaming console was a stroke of genius rather than a flaw. Its certainly easier to develop games for it.

Re:MS is not a hardware company (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#36334624)

I'm not saying that it was a flaw, only that it doesn't really show Microsoft's skill in developing hardware. The major flaw was the large controller, not the actual internals of the machine.

Re:MS is not a hardware company (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36334606)

? I prefer the Duke controller over the S model, or the new 360 for that matter. Just because you have tiny girl hands does not mean that some of us don't have normal sized hands.

Re:MS is not a hardware company (2)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 3 years ago | (#36334610)

I prefer the Duke controller over the S model, or the new 360 for that matter. Just because you have tiny girl hands does not mean that some of us don't have normal sized hands.

I loved the original Xbox controller. The new one is way better than the S controller which was unusable in my opinion but there's still nothing that compares to the ergonomics of the original. I have little tiny child sized hands but it was still incredibly comfortable.

Re:MS is not a hardware company (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36334968)

I agree, I've got a 360 controller and it's easily the most comfortable controller I've ever used. It might be because I've got large hands and can with great difficulty palm a basketball, but it actually is large enough that my hands don't cramp up like they do on that stupid PS3 controller.

Re:MS is not a hardware company (2, Informative)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#36334634)

The first Xbox ... internals were pretty much just generic PC hardware.

Not even that. For a gaming rig, the Xbox internals were CRAPPY. The processor was basically a Celeron 733, only 64MB of RAM, and what was essentially a GeForce 4 Ti 4200 (the lowest-end of nVidia's DirectX 8 cards).

Re:MS is not a hardware company (1, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#36334726)

True, but if you are only single-tasking and you optimize your game for the hardware it is pretty impressive what you can do. Heck, the PS3 only has 128 MB of RAM, the Wii only has 88 MB of RAM, etc. On the other hand, a typical PC has lots of things going at once, after all, how many programs does the typical /.er have open even when they are just browsing the internet? Music, Skype, a video playing in the background, some updates downloading etc.

Re:MS is not a hardware company (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#36334806)

Relatively true, except for a few points.
  1. The XBox had a full Windows CE OS running. You know what that means.
  2. Both the PS3 and Wii use specialized high-speed RAM. The Wii uses some sort of 1T-SRAM, and the PS3 uses a modernized version of RDRAM. Both make up for relatively low capacity with high-speed access. The XBox used commodity DDR DRAM, at clocks about normal for PCs of the time (thus slow by gaming PC standards.

Re:MS is not a hardware company (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#36334980)

The XBox had a full Windows CE OS running. You know what that means.

The Xbox OS is based on Windows 2000. And for the record, the Xbox 360 OS is based on the same codebase, or so Microsoft has said. Thank you for playing, though.

Re:MS is not a hardware company (1)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 3 years ago | (#36335042)

Actually, Microsoft has specifically said that the 360 does not use Windows, merely a Win32-like API.

Re:MS is not a hardware company (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#36335180)

Woops, brain must've segfaulted and mixed it up with the Dreamcast.

After a bit of research (ie. reading the citations on Wikipedia), it seems that the OS is actually custom-made [msdn.com] . However, I don't completely believe that - I suspect pretty large chunks of code, especially on the first XBox, were copied from Windows. 360 I can believe (it's not even x86 - it's PowerPC), but not the original.

Re:MS is not a hardware company (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36335412)

You're wrong about the Dreamcast as well. Windows CE was never a core part of the OS, just something that a handful of (early) games were developed for.

Re:MS is not a hardware company (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 3 years ago | (#36335522)

360 I can believe (it's not even x86 - it's PowerPC), but not the original.

Being PowerPC wouldn't matter. Windows NT has run on the PowerPC architecture since NT 4.0. I've personally run the PPC port of NT 4.0 (it was a just-because kind of thing. I've still never installed the MIPS port, but have run every other NT 4 port.

Microsoft has a very cross-platform capable codebase.

Re:MS is not a hardware company (1)

m50d (797211) | more than 3 years ago | (#36336254)

Don't suppose you happen to have a spare copy of the Alpha version lying around?

Re:MS is not a hardware company (2)

furiousgeorge (30912) | more than 3 years ago | (#36335730)

The PS3 has 512MB of memory. 256 system memory, 256 video memory.

Re:MS is not a hardware company (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36335422)

The first Xbox ... internals were pretty much just generic PC hardware.

Not even that. For a gaming rig, the Xbox internals were CRAPPY. The processor was basically a Celeron 733, only 64MB of RAM, and what was essentially a GeForce 4 Ti 4200 (the lowest-end of nVidia's DirectX 8 cards).

The Xbox was released before the GeForce 4 series. The Xbox's GPU was actually fairly reasonable at the time, especially for the price of the console.

Re:MS is not a hardware company (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36335626)

And yet it was the most powerful of the gen, beating the gamecube by a fair margin and the PS2 by an even larger amount. The XBox hardware was fine.

Re:MS is not a hardware company (1, Interesting)

aBaldrich (1692238) | more than 3 years ago | (#36334642)

Well the last time Microsoft bought a hardware company most slashdotters got multiple orgasms on Kinect videos.

Re:MS is not a hardware company (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#36335588)

And when was this? I believe MS licensed the technology from PrimeSense [wikipedia.org] .

Re:MS is not a hardware company (1)

gcnaddict (841664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36334738)

Microsoft is not a hardware company and would most likely kill nVidia. Out of Microsoft's major hardware projects, the 360 was a complete failure in the hardware department

False. Just because Microsoft didn't design the machine for proper heat dissipation doesn't mean NVIDIA failed. On the contrary, NVIDIA had nothing to do with the 360, and the device still drives sales for Microsoft despite the heating damage. Their Entertainment division will never fade away.

Surface, while neat is hardly a gamechanger

Citation needed.

The first Xbox had a major ergonomics flaw (I mean, were the controllers designed for giants or what) at first, and the internals were pretty much just generic PC hardware.

...using an nvidia GPU.

Tegra 2 is a dual-core ARM-based SoC easily capable of running Windows 8 with all UI acceleration enabled. NVIDIA produces chips already proven to power the NT kernel neatly (the original Tegra powered the Zune HD), so clearly it works. Microsoft just wants to make sure they don't get undermined by an NVIDIA buyout.

Re:MS is not a hardware company (2)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#36334864)

Microsoft purchases a -lot- of companies and the vast majority of them end up scrapped and dead. nVidia makes hardware, not software, and most of the hardware projects made/sold by Microsoft have either failed or had major design flaws.

If Microsoft acquires nVidia, it isn't going to be nVidia that has the final say, instead, it will be Microsoft, since Microsoft has historically made crappy hardware and no matter how many companies it has acquired (currently well over one hundred) Microsoft's way of doing things has remained the same.

Citation needed.

When was the last time, or first time, have you ever seen a Microsoft Surface? The system is still prohibitively expensive, and even all the cool features have yet to be implemented in Windows/Windows Phones despite Surface being about 3 years old by now and there has been 1-2 Windows phone releases since then and a major Windows desktop release since then.

Tegra 2 is a dual-core ARM-based SoC easily capable of running Windows 8 with all UI acceleration enabled. NVIDIA produces chips already proven to power the NT kernel neatly (the original Tegra powered the Zune HD), so clearly it works. Microsoft just wants to make sure they don't get undermined by an NVIDIA buyout.

Yes, nVidia makes good hardware, but if nVidia was bought by Microsoft, it is entirely likely that nVidia would fail, much like just about every other company Microsoft has bought out.

Re:MS is not a hardware company (3, Funny)

Walzmyn (913748) | more than 3 years ago | (#36334762)

-Microsoft is not a hardware company

I disagree. I have a GREAT Microsoft mouse. In fact, I consider it to be much more valuable than the several pieces of their software I had to delete off my hard drive when I originally bought my computers.

Re:MS is not a hardware company (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36335664)

Oh, I see you got a Linux netbook too. I installed Windows on mine immediately as well.

Re:MS is not a hardware company (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36336324)

True. I think that a Mouse was the very first hardware product of Microsoft. They made it even before Apple built the Lisa and even while I am a hard core Linux Geek, I have at least one Microsoft mouse somewhere and it works great.

Re:MS is not a hardware company (1)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 3 years ago | (#36334770)

True, but I think MS has learned that lesson. That's why they are now buying/partnering with hardware companies, and that method is working much better for them. The Kinect is the obvious success story. They bought the hardware, developed the software for it, and it became the fastest selling consumer electronic in history. The W7 Phones are way, way better than previous MS offerings hardware-wise, and are only really losing because they missed the window to enter the market -- Apple and Google have it sewn up.

If they did ever exercise the Nvidia buyout option, I'd be willing to bet my (suddenly extremely valuable) NVDA shares that they would leave the company alone and just let it do its thing.

Which is good, because from what I've heard from engineers in the respective companies, their cultures could not be more different. MS operates the way you'd expect a giant to, but Nvidia has an almost startup-like way of doing things.

Re:MS is not a hardware company (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#36335624)

Wait, I thought they licensed the 3D technology from PrimeSense [wikipedia.org] . They developed for the software with Rare, one of their subsidiaries.

Re:MS is not a hardware company (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 3 years ago | (#36335868)

Microsoft was and still is a leading mfg of computer mice... started as an effort to push the features of a mouse driven UI in early versions of MS Office...

Anti-competitive little shits (0)

airfoobar (1853132) | more than 3 years ago | (#36334612)

ATI should be screaming from the rooftops about this -- the competition authorities should NOT allow such a deal to go through. Microsoft has control of DirectX and if they buy one of the two major GPU makers, they are bound to do their usual thing and cut the other guy out one way or another. I see that as a very bad thing for the future of GPUs on the desktop, and also for GPU-based scientific computing.

Re:Anti-competitive little shits (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 3 years ago | (#36334672)

ATI doesnt exist any more you must mean AMD http://sites.amd.com/us/game/products/graphics [amd.com] . Graphics card manufacturers tend to come and go and nowdays with the push to make the GPU a co-processor on the core CPU chip, graphics cards are looking at the end of their existence.

So Nvidia would be looking to partner with a CPU manufacturer, M$ is just getting in the mix to retain some control. Once you have high powered computer in a chip, with the price saving inherent in that, the software licence becomes a real burden.

Originally M$ had intended to make a shift to an internet company via MSN as the closed source software monopoly dried up, catch was they proved a failure ta making money out of MSN, strangling the chicken, in terms of trying to hard to squeeze out profits and attacking the creative types in meetings, was their undoing.

So they might be making a jump to hardware using their software monopoly to leverage out a hardware advantage, based upon their past performance, not only will they get sued all over the place they will also make a complete balls up of it.

Re:Anti-competitive little shits (4, Insightful)

Sprouticus (1503545) | more than 3 years ago | (#36334694)

I'd say RTFA, but this is slashdot.

This is a devensive measure by MS in case Sony or Nintendo (or some other company) decided to buy NVidia and then screw over MS in a effort to sink the XBox. Not saying it would happen, but that is the idea.

MS does not want to buy NVidia, they just want to be sure one of their few revenue streams doesnt go away.

Re:Anti-competitive little shits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36334790)

Thank you. That was the most coherent and insightful response in this entire thread.

Re:Anti-competitive little shits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36334932)

MS does not want to buy NVidia, they just want to be sure one of their few revenue streams doesnt go away.

Your post made sense until there. The first Xbox lost them about five billion dollars. They're still a few billion in the hole for the Xbox 360, too.

Re:Anti-competitive little shits (2)

symbolset (646467) | more than 3 years ago | (#36335188)

Since nVidia hasn't made XBox chips since 2003 and the ownership of the company is no longer material to Microsoft this contract should have been terminated long ago. No doubt making this commitment permanent after the companies part ways was not nVidia's intent. That Microsoft retains this right is just part of the Faustian bargains available there. If you dance with the devil, you will pay his fee. I wonder how many similar contracts are lingering out there...

Re:Anti-competitive little shits (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 3 years ago | (#36335394)

It's probably floating around because it doesn't matter anymore. The only likely candidates for nVidia aquisition that anyone would care about are intel and Sony. Qualcomm, HP, IBM, other PCB/IC outfits or big tech companies could buy nVidia without changing much in the marketplace. But MS isn't about to offer up any sort of meaningful counter offer to prevent a nvidia buyout unless it's Sony offering (sony uses nvidia parts after all). If qualcomm or IBM or HP or any of those guys offered up 3 billion dollars (or 4 billion or whatever it would cost), MS would say 'good luck!'. And if intel offered, well then you have DoJ lawyers more than MS meddling with things.

Nvidia is a fabless semiconductor company, who happens to design reference parts consumers have actually heard of. The only people likely to be interested in them are other semi conductor companies (at least for an acquisition), or a big electronics company. They have a very cool software suite and computing tools for semiconductor simulation, but that's not MS's business at all. I'm not even sure the semi conductor fab guys would want it.

No question. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36334728)

They're going to buy up NVidia and then it's going to be Windows and Mac only, just like Skype. They've finally figured out how they're going to kill the open desktop -- buy up the companies that support it and then shelve their Linux products.

Only a matter of time.

Danger Will Robenson! (1)

kurt555gs (309278) | more than 3 years ago | (#36334852)

I hope the folks at Nokia read this. I'm sure Elop has put lots of little legal bombs in every contract Nokia has with M$. Not that there is any real hope for Nokia now, in any case.

Re:Danger Will Robenson! (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 3 years ago | (#36335370)

Elop has probably put lots of little self destruct bombs in every corner of Nokia and left all that's left to Microsoft. That ship seems to be sinking faster and faster.

LoB

Chillax babe (1)

dwalsh (87765) | more than 3 years ago | (#36334906)

According to the article, MS have an option to match a hypothetical offer from somebody else for Nvidia.

They may not want to match such an offer should it ever arise.

nVidia Linux driver (4, Informative)

MrKaos (858439) | more than 3 years ago | (#36334988)

I'm certain Microsoft will maintain the development of the excellent proprietary drivers for Linux should they ever acquire nVidia.

Re:nVidia Linux driver (2)

rahvin112 (446269) | more than 3 years ago | (#36335164)

Excellent? You must be using different drivers than me. They haven't been "excellent" in quite a while.

Haven't used ATI's open source driver on their newer hardware, but I can tell you at the rate they are making progress nVidia is going to be in a world of hurt on the Linux front pretty soon.

Re:nVidia Linux driver (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36335348)

Whoosh!

Re:nVidia Linux driver (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36335548)

Hmm ... wondering just how much sarcasm per word is required in a posting for it to pop for you ...

Re:nVidia Linux driver (1)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 3 years ago | (#36335910)

ATI on Linux sucks even more.
1, generic oss driver: missing menus in Blender; bascially no 3d acceleration
2, binary driver from vendor site/distro repo: total blank screen, unusable computer (tested on Ubuntu, Centos and Suse)

Re:nVidia Linux driver (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36335978)

Excellent? You must be using different drivers than me. They haven't been "excellent" in quite a while.

Haven't used ATI's open source driver on their newer hardware, but I can tell you at the rate they are making progress nVidia is going to be in a world of hurt on the Linux front pretty soon.

Bullshit.
Radeon HD 5850 user here, ATi on Linux sucks a fat one.

I used to have an nVidia Geforce 8800 GTS 512, my desktop was fast and generally reliable (some graphical glitches and the occasional crappy build that caused kernel panics certainly). Now with the ATi binary drivers I have:

  1. Major glitches — images don't get cleared properly causing the new frame [eg. text] to be painted over the top of the current frame making a total mess
  2. instability — the system hates Konsole, if I leave it running for a few minutes without input then I can no longer pass focus to the window. If I force the focus on to the window by clicking the taskbar button then X crashes
  3. shitty performance — EVERYTHING lags, even without glxgears or any other OpenGL program running besides the window manager. Even better, switching to Xrender mode in KWin fixes the crashes above but makes the performance even worse

This is just the binary driver mind you, the Open Source driver is all the things above (the process for crashing X is slightly different, add kernel panics and lockups-only-pushing-reset-will-fix for flavour) AND half the fucking APIs aren't implemented so the glitches and misrenders are even worse again. OpenGL support is balls, most of everything that uses it will either crash or (more often) crash X.

[I'm willing to cut ATi some slack since the Linux graphics infrastructure is a giant steaming turd that is getting progressively more fetid and stupid over time, nVidia have the edge simply because they sliced through the bullshit and created their own graphics infrastructure outside the kernel even if the security features leave much to be desired]

Re:nVidia Linux driver (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36336100)

Looks like my next card won't be an Nvidia anymore. It's just too much of a risk if they could be bought by Microsoft at any point in time. No thanks.

ATI supposedly has made good progress on their Linux driver, so I guess I'll go with them next time.

Chair game. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36335022)

M$ is acquiring / making deals with companies which are key to Linux -- related to Gnome (Novell), KDE & Qt (Nokia), Skype (ok, it was weak but could become important) and Nvidia (the _only_ hardware recognized as allowing video h/w in Linux) -- I don't whether they want to suffocate ("cut the oxygen of") Linux (actually, they probl think "Ubuntu") or they plan to get cozy to pinguins as a last resort against Apple.

It's getting me nervous.

Re:Chair game. (3, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#36335384)

M$ is acquiring / making deals with companies which are key to Linux -- related to Gnome (Novell), KDE & Qt (Nokia), Skype (ok, it was weak but could become important) and Nvidia (the _only_ hardware recognized as allowing video h/w in Linux) -- I don't whether they want to suffocate ("cut the oxygen of") Linux (actually, they probl think "Ubuntu") or they plan to get cozy to pinguins as a last resort against Apple.

It's getting me nervous.

If that's the way you think about things, you should be getting nervous. And it doesn't have anything to do with Microsoft.

Another Sybase type unequal treaty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36335046)

Somebody should add these latter day Microsoft agreements to the Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] .

Interesting Deal (1)

beaker8000 (1815376) | more than 3 years ago | (#36335048)

A summary of the agreement is in the 10-Q here under '8. Microsoft Agreement': http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1045810/000101287000004766/0001012870-00-004766-0001.txt [sec.gov]

If I understand correctly, it seems nvidia was concerned it wouldn't be able to deliver the chips that microsoft wanted in a timely manner. So microsoft paid $200 million up front, for anticipated chip purchases, with only the possibility of getting $100 million back if they decided to cancel (the rest would be converted into preferred stock). This would give nvidia $200 million to use to develop the chip, and they would only have to pay back $100 million if they couldn't. In exchange for the $200 million up front microsoft got the right of first and last refusal with respect to any offer for 30% or more of nvidia.

MS buys NVIDIA, Apple buys AMD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36335058)

Could be interesting if MS bought NVIDIA and Apple then bought AMD. I doubt Apple would want to use MS chipsets following an aquisition. Apple would get the benefit of controlling their Mac chipsets too. Intel wouldn't be too happy about their prestiege client leaving them and MS would control some of the best phone/tablet chipsets available for years to come.

Re:MS buys NVIDIA, Apple buys AMD (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#36335648)

One of the main reasons Apple didn't/don't use AMD chips is that Intel has far better mobile offerings. AMD is far better at using their sockets over several generations of their chips while Intel makes a new one with almost every generation. To consumers this is an advantage when upgrading their computers. Apple doesn't really benefit from this.

AMD... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36335108)

So I guess this is why AMD bought ATI instead of nVidia. Because of the relationship between MS and Intel, Microsoft would have just vetoed the purchase. It always seemed like AMD buying ATI instead of nVidia was a dumb idea and I guess we now know why. I mean, nVidia made ALL the good AMD chipsets for years, plus usually seemed to have the better graphics hardware (arguable, but at least whenever I was buying).

Ferengi (1)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 3 years ago | (#36335264)

You read it here: Microsoft and NVidia has Rules of Acquisition they have to follow!

This is Mircosoft protecting their IP-nothing more (1)

Lashat (1041424) | more than 3 years ago | (#36335342)

The clause in the development deal was solely intended to protect Microsoft intellectual property from falling into the hands of someone non-MS approved. Microsoft put a lot of money and other resources behind NVIDIA when they needed a hardware partner for the first Xbox console. All of those detailed API and design specs are archived somewhere at NVIDIA.

This is not an alarm that NVIDIA is being shopped around for purchase. IMHO they are doing too well and worth too much to be folded into another company.

Not true (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 3 years ago | (#36335352)

AMD is on record as saying it wants to be the first pad tablet to run x86 software on Windows 8 betting it can outdo the arm. Asus is rumored to include the cpu/gpu combo which will be out next year.

Linux gaming (1)

Turmoyl (958221) | more than 3 years ago | (#36335510)

This does not bode well at all for Linux gaming. For the 10 years I've tried them ATI cards (more specifically their drivers) have never worked well in Linux. If M$ gets a hold of Nvidia I wouldn't be at all surprised to see NVidia's support for Linux wane as well.

Linux gaming may suffer (3, Interesting)

Turmoyl (958221) | more than 3 years ago | (#36335520)

This may not bode well for Linux gaming. For the 10 years I've tried them ATI cards (more specifically their drivers) have never worked well in Linux. If M$ gets a hold of Nvidia I wouldn't be at all surprised to see NVidia's support for Linux falter as well.

Re:Linux gaming may suffer (1)

emanem (1356033) | more than 3 years ago | (#36336156)

That's my fear too... Hope this won't happen! Cheers!

Some of my favourite companies... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36335946)

... - Nokia, Skype and now nVidia have been took over by Microsoft recently (and are no longer my favourites).
How about my favourite fruit - Apple? Go for it, Microsoft.

Microsoft Ideas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36335998)

MS is irritating. first the want to acquire skype now nvidia. they will kill skype and Nvidia. they might just be better purchasing ARM from Apple. MS should concentrate on improving their code and syncing with Games for Windows Live for better graphics and performance instead of taking a shortcut by taking over Nvidia. It's time they put out money for R&D like how Sony did for their PS3. Take a larger step ahead because they are really lagging behind.

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