NVIDIA May Acquire AMD Despite Loss of x86 Licensing
Doug Friedman, an analyst with American Technology Research, said that graphics chip maker Nvidia Corp. could well acquire x86 microprocessor maker Advanced Micro Devices in order to “re-architect it”. The acquisition is considered to be useful due to the fact that roadmaps of AMD and Intel Corp. threat Nvidia. The only problem for the graphics giant is that AMD’s x86 license is a non-transferable one.
“We believe AMD [could] face mounting pressure from shareholders, to restructure the company with a focus on a change in leadership,” said the analyst.
Indeed, shareholders of AMD are hardly pleased with the company’s performance in the recent quarters as well as issues with the launch of quad-core microprocessors and the release of DirectX 10 graphics processing units. Nevertheless, late last year AMD managed to secure $622 million from Mubadala Development Company, which means that there are those who believe in AMD.
But despite of the problems that AMD has had, its roadmap of integration graphics cores into central processing units (CPUs) threats Nvidia: not only AMD increases its market share on the market of graphics adapters, but it transforms graphics solutions into commodity, which may potentially affect Nvidia’s revenues going forward.
“The Intel/AMD roadmap of integration of the CPU/GPU could pose a risk to Nvidia, and buying AMD propels Nvidia into a formidable competitor for Intel with the upside coming from Huang’s ability to re-architect AMD’s design,” said Mr. Friedman.
At press time, AMD’s market capitalization was $3.82 billion and it has $1.89 billion in cash. Nvidia Corp.’s market capitalization at press time was $13.01 billion, besides, the company had $1.85 billion in bank.
Perhaps, Jen-Hsun Huang, the chief executive of Nvidia, could re-architect Advanced Micro Devices in order to make it profitable. However, due to the fact that wide cross-licensing agreement between AMD and Intel, which is also believed to cover x86 instruction set, does not allow AMD to transfer any of Intel’s technologies to any third-party. As a result, if AMD is acquired by Nvidia, the new company will not have rights to produce x86 central processing units (CPUs) or utilize any technologies from Intel.
It is uncertain whether Nvidia, or any other company that has no wide cross-licensing agreement with Intel that covers x86 instruction set, is interested in getting AMD and not interested in making CPUs. But what is almost certain is that various antitrust organizations would be against the two suppliers of discrete GPUs becoming one.
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