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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Intel Sues Nvidia as CPU Power Moves To GPU

Intel has sued Nvidia, arguing that a cross-licensing agreement between the companies doesn't apply to CPUs with integrated memory controllers. Nvidia, which makes GPUs, disagrees. Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang said "the CPU has run its course and the soul of the PC is shifting quickly to the GPU." He described the CPU business as "decaying."

More than 40 years ago, Gordon E. Moore, one of the cofounders of Intel, observed that the number of transistors that could be incorporated into an integrated circuit had increased exponentially, doubling approximately every two years. Despite the challenges posed by the incredibly minute sizes of modern-day chips, Moore's Law is expected to hold true for at least another decade.

Having retired from Intel a dozen years ago, maybe Moore has time to work on a new law: The growth in the number of attorneys needed to litigate new chip designs.

A long-standing cross-licensing agreement between Intel and Nvidia is on the rocks. On Monday, Intel filed suit in Delaware state court, arguing that the agreement between the two companies doesn't apply to CPUs with integrated memory controllers that were not in existence when the licensing deal was signed.

By Frederick Lane

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