Nvidia Mocks Intel Legal Woes

On a Website called Intel's Insides, graphics chip maker Nvidia offers a series of editorial-style cartoons that take shots at Intel over a number of issues, including the legal problems that are besetting the company. Intel is being sued on several fronts regarding its business practices, and also is dealing with lawsuits involving Nvidia and licensing issues.

Nvidia, already involved in a bitter licensing dispute with Intel, is now taking shots at the chip giant's legal woes in a series of cartoons.

Nvidia has created a Website called Intel's Insides, which has a series of editorial-style one-panel cartoons that mock Intel, which is facing a series of legal challenges-most recently, a lawsuit filed by federal prosecutors in New York-around its business practices.

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo Nov. 4 filed suit against Intel, accusing the chip maker of using bribes and coercion to force OEMs, including Dell, Hewlett-Packard and IBM, to limit their use of products from Advanced Micro Devices in favor of Intel chips.

The N.Y. charges echo what European regulators alleged when they fined Intel $1.45 billion earlier in 2009, and what AMD officials are saying in their lawsuit against Intel, which is scheduled to go to trial within the next six months. In addition, the Federal Trade Commission is looking at Intel's business practices, and analysts have speculated that charges from that agency could be filed before the end of the year.

Intel officials have defended the company, and have argued that any payments made to OEMs were legitimate rebates made to major customers.

A number of the cartoons on Nvidia's site refer to the accusations. One cartoon, from Oct. 1, depicts Intel CEO Paul Otellini as the Marlon Brando character in "The Godfather," saying, "We'll make them a processor offer they can't refuse ..." Another from Nov. 4 shows Otellini at a podium, saying Bill Clinton-style, "I did not have bribery, coercion and kickback relations with the computer industry ..."

The cartoons are done by editorial cartoonist Steven Lait. According to the site, Intel's Insides "is intended to be a parody of events occurring within the semiconductor sector, with particular focus on its largest and most commented-upon competitor."

Intel is finding itself fighting legal challenges on multiple fronts, including battles with Nvidia. Intel has sued Nvidia over what officials said was a breach of contract involving Nvidia chip sets designed for Intel's new "Nehalem" chips. Nvidia also has sued Intel to stop its rival from licensing Nvidia patents.

The lawsuits come at a time when chip makers, including Intel, AMD and Nvidia, are looking to merge GPU (graphics processing units) and CPUs in co-processing environments. Both Intel and AMD have projects under way to increase the GPU capabilities of their processors.

At the same time, an analyst speculated Nov. 3 that Nvidia-best known for its GPUs-may enter the CPU arena.