Nvidia Loses 10 Million PC order in China; AMD Called In Instead
Industrial espionage by the ChiComs in a bid for source code? You be the judge. Either way, AMD wins:
Excerpt from the above URL:
"What Went Wrong?
Recently, Linus Torvalds, the father of Linux went on a tangent during a talk, gave NVIDIA the middle finger and said "Fuck You, NVIDIA." While NVIDIA attempted to mitigate the damage by releasing a story, there was a 'behind the curtain' reason why Linus was so frustrated with the company. It did not have to do with open source as much as it did with China.
A rumor appeared from the heart of Beijing that due to the performance of its GPU architecture and its Linux drivers, NVIDIA was approached by one of the leading Chinese CPU teams to use an NV GPU in a pilot school PC project. The Linux would run on the Chinese CPU, while GeForce GPU would provide the graphics power. 'Pilot project' in this case means over 10 million PCs in one order, broken down - 100,000 schools with 100-150 PCs each. The problem was two-fold; NVIDIA never releases source code for its Linux drivers, and the binaries are only X86. Incentivized by the Chinese government, the Chinese CPU team called NVIDIA to come to China and work with them.
To cut the story short, the NV team appeared there, and in very arrogant manner told the Chinese side that they are a large US corporation, and that recompiling the Linux drivers would cost the Chinese a lot of money. The money that Chinese CPU team and the Academy of Science were supposed to fork out was to the tune of several million dollars in incentive that are typically referred to as NRE - Non-recurring Engineering.
Our sources close to the heart of the matter said that was the end of the meeting and of the relationship. While we cannot foresee the consequences of that meeting, bear in mind that back at the day, Intel supplied Chinese government with an Itanium-based cluster that failed miserably, and the Chinese forced Intel to invest heavily in China. To this date, this was one of smartest moves Intel pulled, as they enjoy a very fruitful relationship with the Chinese government.
Epilogue - AMD Wins
With NVIDIA back in Santa Clara, California and Southern China, there was no doubt as to who the Chinese would call next. The other GPU vendor, while having mediocre Linux drivers, at least did not make any fuss over source code access. This ended up in being part of a 10-15 million PC project. Even if selling its cheapest DirectX 11 capable GPUs, this is a revenue opportunity of at least 250-350 million dollars. Thus, if the Beijing rumor turns out to be true, this means NVIDIA destroyed a relationship with a potential long term partner, which in turn began working with AMD. All of this was caused by a couple of million dollars in NRE's on GPUs which were already paid out (let's say NVIDIA would end up selling 10 million GeForce GT 520 boards), and for a project that required drivers that NVIDIA needs to develop anyways (after all, CARMA toolkit is consisted out of ARM-powered Tegra 3 processor and a 96-core Quadro GPU)?
The real question remains, though - when will the company stockholders start demanding responsibility for a lost deal of at least quarter a billion dollars, a deal that went to NVIDIA's direct competitor - which is rapidly gaining market share?"