nVidia being accused of anticompetitive practice

hardocp has been a computer hardware enthusiast website from the early days of the internet and enthusiast websites. I’ve been in the community since the late 1990s. Kyle Bennet is the guy that runs hardocp. He has a reputation for putting principales first. He hasn’t had a problem calling a spade a spade in the past. He is well connected in the consumer hardware industry despite being a bit of an outsider as he doesn’t play by the same rules as the other guys. Long story short he just published a pretty big bombshell on his website. Here is a link where he lays out the claim that nVidia has stepped over the line from competition to using their marketshare to strong arm AIB partners into only selling nVidia hardware. https://www.hardocp.com/article/2018/03/08/geforce_partner_p… . You guys may recall intel doing something similar with a rebate program in the mid 2000s for which they paid amd over a billion dollars. I’m in no position to judge the veracity of the claim besides that I have been reading hardocp.com for over a decade and kyle has always been a stand up guy.

-Ethan

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someone on forbs’s blog section picked up the story.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jasonevangelho/2018/03/08/repor…

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Frankly I like the fact that Nvidia has no real competition at the high end of the market, as the article states. I also like the fact that Nvidia, an a fast growing enormous market, has such market power.

The GPP program itself is not illegal. Requiring the chips to be put into certain branding and authentication form (as this is) is not illegal. Giving priority to GPP members (in fact Nvidia could refuse to sell to anyone else if they wanted to and that would not be illegal, so that they could protect their brand from counterfeiting) is not illegal.

The one aspect here is that the GPP program requires that the packaging company can only sell the Nvidia brand into each product, or is it to each company, and that must be exclusive. Makes a difference.

I believe a lot more information is needed here, and more than whispers and anonymous sources. Nvidia will, and it should, go to the edge of what is legal to promote its products and maintain its brand for the shareholders. Bravo! Nvidia has an army of lawyers, all thinking they are smarter than me. Nvidia is not going to do something this openly and this brazenly if it is illegal. To do so would be utter idiocy.

Frankly makes me want to buy more to know Nvidia has this sort of market power.

Tinker

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i guess my only reply is…Intel, to basically every point you brought up.

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Yes, and Intel probably new to the last dollar that they made more money than the lost in the lawsuit.

There is no antitrust violation for a voluntary program. A program where a vendor gains specific benefits by choosing to accept certain conditions.

Is it an antitrust violation for Wendy’s to be forbidden from selling unauthorized products? No.

Any of these vendors can choose not to enjoy the benefits of this program and continue selling multiple products as they want.

Good luck proving this conspiracy of reprisals against those who do not join up. Those who do not join up will not have priority, just like a non franchisee does not have priority.

If AMD actually had a case they would not leak it to the press but would have their attorneys take control of the matter.

Not real concerned.

In fact, is it not anti-competitive, destroying consumer choice, for Intel, using its market power, to monopolize AMD GPUs in its latest processors? If not, why not?

Tinker

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Before we go any further, in the effort to be as transparent as possible, we need to let you know that AMD came to us and presented us with “this story.” AMD shopped this story with other websites as well. However, with the information that was presented to us by AMD, there was no story to be told, but it surely pointed to one that was worth looking into.

If this were so “illegal”…why wouldn’t you just shop it once to the FTC??..instead of a bunch of web sites?

There may be some issues of concern and I haven’t the expertise to discern the legalities but I will say in a more generic sense that these types of accusations and spats are VERY common against the “gorilla”…in some respects, they are an acknowledgment of defeat that one’s own technology itself cannot, and will not, unseat the gorilla.

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