NVIDIA shakes up business model with Kepler licensing

We've heard extensively about the gradual decline of the consumer PC market, with industry leaders feeling the pain as consumers gravitate towards more mobile devices: tablets and smartphones. NVIDIA is one such company that has felt the squeeze, and its response is a strong one: an expansion of its business model with an announcement that it will begin licensing Kepler architecture.

NVIDIA says that it will eventually license its GPU cores and visual-computing portfolio of patents to various device makers, but for now it'll be starting with its Kepler architecture. Kepler is the base of current Tesla and GeForce GPUs, among others, and as the company points out, it can be scaled for the smartphone market.

Such a move is an effort to branch out to a larger segment of the market, helping to make up for the sagging PC sales woes. This isn't something the company hasn't done before. The PlayStation 3, for example, used an earlier GPU that was licensed by Sony, and Intel is a big customer in the realm of licensing visual computing patents.

Device makers that license the architecture will be given all the items they need: collateral and designs, as well as support for implementing the technology into their own devices. Those who want more design freedom can license from the visual computing portfolio, as we mentioned. As such, we can expect to see NVIDIA tech working its way into a wide variety of devices in the future.

NVIDIA boasts that it invests more in research and development than other companies concerning the same technology, having shelled out in excess of $6 billion in R&D since the company hayday. NVIDIA currently holds 5,500+ patents, some of which are still pending, making it a driving force in the world of visual computing patents.