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NVIDIA Coming Under Fire for GeForce Partner Program

Category: General News
Posted: 09:21AM

Last week, Kyle Bennett of [H]ardOCP put up an article that is providing an interesting look at some business dealings between NVIDIA, OEMs, and AIB partners through the GeForce Partner Program (GPP). According to an NVIDIA blog post GPP is meant to provide full transparency into the graphics card and software they are sold and to that end, wants to bring consistency across NVIDIA brands and partner brands. NVIDIA would therefore be promoting GPP member brands through their public channels, like social media and events, and these members will get certain benefits from NVIDIA as well, including access to innovations and engineering teams.

The reason Kyle Bennett started looking into GPP is because AMD reached out to [H]ardOCP and other websites about it, and while what AMD presented was not enough to tell a story, he reached out to contacts at seven companies for more information. As is stated in the source link below, not one of these contacts was willing to speak on the record, if they said anything at all, and those that did requested anonymity for fear of losing their jobs or their being retribution by NVIDIA on them or their companies. According to Kyle, there were a number of consistencies across the interviews he did get, including the concern the terms of GPP "are likely illegal," it will hurt consumers' choices, and it will disrupt business with those companies doing business with AMD and Intel.

The primary source of those concerns is a GPP requirement that the member companies must have its "Gaming Brand Aligned Exclusively With GeForce," and Kyle has also read documents with this spelled out. This requirement would mean if a company has a gaming brand, which many do, it could not contain anything but GeForce products, so AMD-based GPUs, for example, would be forced out of it, to some non-gaming brand. This would not be limited to gaming graphics cards, but all gaming products such as laptops and pre-built desktops.

While joining the GeForce Partner Program is optional for companies, not being a partner can lose you a number of benefits including: high-effort engineering engagements; early tech engagement; launch partner status; game bundling; sales rebate programs; social media and PR support; marketing reports; and marketing development funds. Kyle specifically pulls out the marketing development funds as being reminiscent of the monopolistic practices Intel used in the past. Multi-billion dollar fines were eventually placed on Intel for those practices.

I suspect this is only the beginning of this story, and hopefully more information will come out before long to better explain the terms of the GeForce Partner Program.

Source: [H]ardOCP

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slick2500 on March 12, 2018 18:48
This sounds pretty shady on nVidia's part.
Braegnok on March 12, 2018 21:42

Is NVidia worried about the GPU AIB market,.. Intel Kaby-G: i7-8809G Processor with Radeon RX Vega, and Intel Core i7-8709G Processor with Radeon RX Vega.  


AMD should release an 8-core 16 thread Ryzen 2000 processor with two 7nm Vega gpus, 8gb HBM2 VRAM,.. that would shake things up.  :)  

cchalogamer on March 13, 2018 13:47

While nearly the entire enthusiast community can see through the marketing and has called out nvidia on pulling an Intel (remember the days of Dell only selling Intel CPUs) at the end of the day my customers and other similar PC users have no clue.  They claim no discounts for the brands that follow their plan yet a "discount" can come in many forms, could be as simple as guaranteed supply of GPUs.  With the current market a company like HP or Dell not following nvidia's word could lead to them not having the supply of nvidia GPUs to meet customer demand.  That's a luxury you'll notice they've had over small builders through GPU shortages.  For smaller yet still big companies like CyberpowerPC/iBUYPOWER they could literally be forced out of the mid to high end market if they don't play nice with nvidia simply by not being a preferred partner. 


While you COULD argue that nothing in the release says any of this, I will argue that nvidia will go right to the edge of what they can get by with to try and keep other brands out of the GPU market. Don't get me wrong they're in it for money and the highest possible market share should be a goal, I just think the GPU offering should sell itself not the need to strong arm partners into not having their products directly compete with the competition.  


I will say if you're nvidia and going to pull this shit it's the perfect time, they can easily say they don't NEED to lock AMD out with Pascal beating Vega in nearly everything, but I would bet that's the real reason to push for this now while partners want nvidia cards the most and are more likely to enter into an agreement that seems helpful to them.

Guest_Jim_* on March 14, 2018 01:11

Earlier today Kyle Bennett was on a PCWorld stream to talk about this, so if you are interested, you can watch it here:


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