NVIDIA and Intel have been fighting a legal battle for a long time now that involved chipsets that NVIDIA was making that supported newer Intel CPUs. We first heard grumblings back in 2008 that NVIDIA could be leaving the chipset business, but things were seemingly chugging along. Today NVIDIA has officially announced that its nForce chipset line is on hiatus.
Update: Official NVIDIA statement after the cut
NVIDIA spokesman Robert Sherbin said the company will, "postpone further chipset investments." There are also rumors going around that NVIDIA may be exiting the high-end GPU market, which Sherbin denied as "patently untrue." The poor global economy is hurting high-end video card sales with products often costing into the $500 range, but NVIDIA isn't jumping ship.
What is apparent is that the company is shifting much of its new GPU introductions to the mid-range and lower-end market where most gamers and enthusiasts are now shopping. As for why NVIDIA is leaving chipsets right now, Sherbin told PC Mag in an email, "We have said that we will continue to innovate integrated solutions for Intel's FSB architecture. We firmly believe that this market has a long healthy life ahead. But because of Intel's improper claims to customers and the market that we aren't licensed to the new DMI bus and its unfair business tactics, it is effectively impossible for us to market chipsets for future CPUs. So, until we resolve this matter in court next year, we'll postpone further chipset investments."
Update: NVIDIA's Ken Brown has given us the following statement:
"On Intel platforms, the NVIDIA GeForce 9400M/ION brands have enjoyed significant sales, as well as critical success. Customers including Apple, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Samsung, Acer, ASUS and others are continuing to incorporate GeForce 9400M and ION products in their current designs. There are many customers that have plans to use ION or GeForce 9400M chipsets for upcoming designs, as well.
On AMD platforms, we continue to sell a higher quantity of chipsets than AMD itself. MCP61-based platforms continue to be extremely well positioned in the entry CPU segments where AMD CPUs are most competitive vs. Intel
We will continue to innovate integrated solutions for Intel’s FSB architecture. We firmly believe that this market has a long healthy life ahead. But because of Intel's improper claims to customers and the market that we aren’t licensed to the new DMI bus and its unfair business tactics, it is effectively impossible for us to market chipsets for future CPUs. So, until we resolve this matter in court next year, we’ll postpone further chipset investments for Intel DMI CPUs.
Despite Intel's actions, we have innovative products that we are excited to introduce to the market in the months ahead. We know these products will bring with them some amazing breakthroughs that will surprise the industry, just as GeForce 9400M and ION have shaken up the industry this year.
We expect our MCP business for both Intel and AMD to be strong well into the future."