Nvidia CEO Talks ARM CPU Strategy, Chipsets


Nvidia Chief Executive Jen-Hsun Huang has never shied from being being blunt about where his company stands, having once promised to "open a can of whoop ass" on Intel. His latest comments aren't quite as colorful, but they're just as telling, and still manage to take a shot at the Santa Clara chip maker.

"Our CPU strategy is ARM," Huang told CNET when asked about the company's strategy for central processing units in smartphones and tablets. "ARM is the fastest growing processor architecture in the world today. ARM supports (Google's) Android best. And Android is the fastest growing OS in the world today."

Huang's comments come on the heel of Nvidia reporting a second-quarter net loss of $141 million, far worse than the $105.3 million net loss the graphics chip maker reported one year ago. Part of the reason for the disappointing quarter is that Nvidia is still paying for a defect in some of its earlier GPUs and chipsets. Back in 2008, Nvidia announced a charge somewhere between $150 million to $200 million to cover warranty costs associated with "weak die/packaging material" in older laptop models, and Nvidia said it has taken an "additional net charge" of $193.9 million for the same problem.

Huang talked about a number of issues affecting his company, including the lawsuit preventing Nvidia from making chipsets for Intel's Nehalem architecture. Even if Nvidia should ultimately win the case, Huang said it's unlikely they would get back in the chipset game.

"They (Intel) have disrupted our chipset business," Huang said. "The damage has been done. We've been out of the chipset business for well over a year, so if this got resolved we're not expecting to ramp back up the thousand engineers that we had working on chipsets."

The relationship between Nvidia and Intel has always been a rocky one, and given the disruption to its chipset business, we can't really say we're surprised to see Nvidia getting into ARM's corner, even as Intel prepares to make a move into the tablet space.

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