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NVidia, AMD Subpoenaed In Antitrust Investigation 132

Posted by Zonk
from the business-of-making-shinies dept.
mustardayonnaise writes "CNN Money is reporting that graphics chipmakers Nvidia and AMD (who recently acquired NVidia rival ATI) said Friday that they received subpoenas from the US Department of Justice as part of a probe into potential antitrust violations involving graphics processing units and cards. Each company controls about 25% of the entire graphics chip market. According to the article, Intel, who makes their own fair share of graphics chipsets, has yet to be included in the investigation."
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NVidia, AMD Subpoenaed In Antitrust Investigation

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  • by that token (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eneville (745111) on Friday December 01, 2006 @03:25PM (#17071602) Homepage
    well, if this is happening, why isn't intel/amd being questioned about their control over pc chips?
  • priorities? WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by User 956 (568564) on Friday December 01, 2006 @03:29PM (#17071704) Homepage
    CNN Money is reporting that graphics chipmakers Nvidia and AMD (who recently acquired NVidia rival ATI) said Friday that they received subpoenas from the US Department of Justice as part of a probe into potential antitrust violations involving graphics processing units and cards. Each company controls about 25% of the entire graphics chip market.

    Meanwhile, the RIAA, who has a stranglehold over the music industry, gets to drive their truckloads of money straight to the bank.
  • by MrBulwark (862510) on Friday December 01, 2006 @03:32PM (#17071778)
    My guess would be that the cost to develop working drivers would outweigh the profits that they would see from increased Linux user base. By the conspiracy idea is a good one too ;)
  • by jimstapleton (999106) on Friday December 01, 2006 @03:35PM (#17071826) Journal
    Please mod whoever said that is off topic as "stupid"

    Honestly, it's a very good point, why are two agressively competative companies, having half the market share being examined for antitrust, while the RIAA fatcats, who are obviously a TRUSTworthy consortium not?
  • by darkwhite (139802) on Friday December 01, 2006 @03:37PM (#17071850)
    Ah, so the DOJ is perfectly happy with multibillion-dollar competition-free contracts for "rebuilding Iraq" and blatantly monopolistic behavior by telecom providers, they think allowing Microsoft to racketeer OEMs into forcing customers to buy Windows with every machine they sell is absolutely fine, and of course they won't even dare to think about prosecuting other branches of their own government for numerous violations of the Constitution and war crimes, but when two companies, by persistently competing with each other and achieving near-perfect parity for long periods of time, create one of the most staggeringly cutthroat markets on the planet, they must of course be investigated.

    Good job, DOJ!
  • Huh? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PingSpike (947548) on Friday December 01, 2006 @03:38PM (#17071870)
    I don't get it...what is the DOJ's angle here? There is real competition in the graphics card market, more so then the processor market and definately more then say...the operating system market.

    Why are they going after these guys anyway?
  • by Azarael (896715) on Friday December 01, 2006 @03:49PM (#17072068) Homepage
    I would think that being aware of a subpoena referring to anti-trust litigation is well within the the responsibilities of a PR dept. of a large corporation.
  • by Darth (29071) on Friday December 01, 2006 @03:57PM (#17072228) Homepage
    the RIAA is made up of companies. it exists to represent the major companies' common interests.

    In the oligopoly of the music industry, the RIAA is the cartel that allows the major players to exert monopoly control on the market.

    The fact that the RIAA itself is not a company should not be sufficient to protect its existance and protect its members from antitrust prosecutions.
  • by Tweekster (949766) on Friday December 01, 2006 @04:06PM (#17072380)
    They are highly competitive against each other. they are only deadlocked because of their competition, if one just sat back they would soon see their asses handed to them.

    Antitrust issues come in when the consumer is getting screwed. in the case of video cards you may only have 2 major options, however they are constantly trying to out innovate the other in order to gain some market share (and not fall behind) defiantly a good situation for the consumer.

    there are many monopolies in industries, however if the consumer isnt being adversely affected then the issue isnt raised near as much
  • by HermMunster (972336) on Friday December 01, 2006 @04:18PM (#17072618)
    I think there's great competition and I doubt any sort of fixing of price has been happening. One has to wonder the motivation behind this. Why are they spending our tax dollars when it is obvious that we have great competition, lots of manufacturers, great prices, lots of power, enormous competition with integrated chipsets, etc.

    Any word on why this is happening or are we just funding some Justice Dept's employee's rise to celebrity?
  • by erroneus (253617) on Friday December 01, 2006 @04:34PM (#17072902) Homepage
    I know... it's sarcasm, but you didn't mark it up that way specifically.

    But these kind of situations are most likely built on patents (licensing, trading, whatever) as a means to lock out competitors. This is obviously not what the patent system is supposed to be used for.

    I'm certain there are a multitude of patents related to the implementation of OpenGL, for example. It would be my guess that the costs for implementing cards that would otherwise violate these patents would cost more than they could sell them for per unit. To me, that would spell "new-comers not welcome." Is that Antitrust? I don't know... that's for the judges to decide. But from where I sit, this is yet another shining example of how patents damage industries more than they help.
  • WTF? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cbhacking (979169) <been_out_cruisin ... nOSPam.yahoo.com> on Friday December 01, 2006 @11:32PM (#17077744) Homepage Journal
    It doesn't seem logical anyhow. Sure, there may be only two high capability options, but that doesn't make them monopolies. Besides, there AREW a few other companies out there... Intel doesn't have the other 50%. So, you have at least THREE major corporate players, all within a factor of two of each other marketshare-wise, plus third (fourth?) parties. Intel might not really directly compete with NVidia, but ATI has had and continues to have integrated solutions for laptops, at least. I've tried one; it's not bad, though not as powerful as a standalone card. So, overall I think we have a healthy, active community of companies all competing like hell to give the best customer experience, in a cutthroat and fast-moving industry, without actually cutting any throats. This needs an antitrust probe WHY?!?

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