NVIDIA’s CEO Jen-Hsun Huang’s talked to industry analysts today, and talked about various growth avenue, and he mentioned that NVIDIA was “open to licensing” its technology to companies that are heavily vertically integrated. Of course, two names pop immediately: Apple and Samsung, and this wouldn’t be very hard to see this as a message to those players, who both have their own processors. “We do it all the time” says NVIDIA’s CEO – even if most people think of NVIDIA as a company that fundamentally “sell chips” to its customers.
As I’ve eluded to in my story about how NVIDIA Shield has been designed to shake up the balance of power, NVIDIA’s main issue remains that 70% of the mobile industry is held by Apple and Samsung, with Samsung growing by the day. Both are vertically integrated (or “virtually” vertically integrated in the case of Apple) since it uses third party contractors to manufacture its components.
If NVIDIA could add enough value to convince Samsung or Apple to license its designs (for a good price), it wouldn’t have to fight them, and that would still be the best way for them to “get in”. After all, that’s exactly what ARM or PowerVR do. Ultimately, it’s probably more profitable for NVIDIA to sell complete chips rather than blocs of logic designs. However, it also have to take the mobile world reality into account and move forward.
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