It just seems that Nvidia is on a shopping spree, if you believe everything that you continue to see on the Web. The latest news that is reaching us from Asia is that Nvidia is now looking hard at the possibility of buying VIA Technologies. If they are looking at VIA, the purchase could help to better position Nvidia in a lot of ways. The ability to leverage VIA’s patents and technology could be a big win to make Nvidia a stronger player over the long haul that is not as influenced by either Intel or AMD.
The biggest question is whether VIA Technologies has an x86 license that is transferable. If Nvidia were to buy VIA could it develop, manufacture, and sell new or existing x86 compatible processors under such a license? The idea that Nvidia could use the Via purchase as a gateway to get into the x86 processor business is certainly something that could better position Nvidia to compete with both Intel and AMD, as they would have the ability to produce the CPU, GPU, and chipset which would give them the same core inventory of offers as both Intel and AMD now have.
While VIA acquired most of the CPU technology from buyouts of Cyrix and Integrated Device Technology’s (IDT) Centaur X86 CPU technology, it has never been able to offer an X86 CPU product that could compete with AMD or Intel for the performance crown. This has led VIA to focus on niche market spaces for their CPU products, such as embedded products or super low cost market spaces where VIA has been able to better compete.
At this point in the game Nvidia may just feel that it has to have its own x86 CPU offering in order to be a player in the market space long term. Of course, no one at Nvidia or VIA is going to talk about this at this point in the game, but an Nvidia purchase of VIA does set the stage for a possible show down that could prove to be interesting long term for the PC consumer.
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