VIA Technical Forum - Day 1: Politics and Chipsetsby Matthew Witheiler on September 5, 2001 1:18 PM EST
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Taiwanese manufacturers deal with new pressures
The motherboard market is not the only one that is being pulled in various directions by chip suppliers. With the announcement that ATI will be selling their chips to 3rd party manufacturers as well as the recent announcement of the Radeon 7500 and 8500 have caused quite a bit of turmoil in the video card industry. Much like what is happening in the motherboard market, the video card market is facing pressure from two major players: ATI and NVIDIA.
It seems that ATI has approached more than a few video card manufactures, offering to sell both Radeon 7500 and Radeon 8500 chips to them and promising market success. At the same time, NVIDIA has been pressuring card makers to reject ATI as a solution. The unspoken threat that NVIDIA is coming to manufacturers with is that if a company produces ATI cards then not only will relations be hurt but NVIDIA chips will be harder for them to get.
Naturally, this places quite an amount of pressure on card makers. Many video card manufacturers that we have spoken to have expressed interest in ATI products but have decided not to produce them as of yet simply because of NVIDIA's pressure. In fact, many of the companies that we have spoken to have said that they are not currently working on Radeon based cards but have not eliminated them as a solution quite yet. Many of the popular video card manufacturers would not be around today if it were not for the success of NVIDIA's chips, placing an even greater pressure on the manufacturers to stick with NVIDIA.
Every manufacturer has slightly different opinions of the situation mostly as a result of various relationships with NVIDIA. Expect video card producers who have historically stuck to NVIDIA only video cards to continue to do so, while others who have toyed with SiS and Kyro solutions may try and produce ATI based cards. We can say for sure that there will be some 3rd party ATI cards out there in the near future.
Regardless of who makes the cards, NVIDIA still has to release a product that will compete with the new Radeon cards. Look for more information regarding NVIDIA's GeForce3 refresh later this month in direct response to the Radeon 7500 and 8500.
In summation, the politics of the computer industry are as thick as ever, thanks in a large part to the economic downturn that many technology based companies are forced to deal with. It is not an easy time to be a motherboard or video card manufacturer: not only must you deal with decreasing sales as a result of a poor economic climate, you also must face pressure from large companies that are crucial to your success. Do not expect the struggle, in either sense, to be over any time soon.