Microsoft & NVIDIA Have Been Closer Than Realized
Generating a fair amount of interest the past two days has been news that Microsoft and NVIDIA are in a relationship much closer than many realize. Dating back to an SEC paper in the year 2000, Microsoft carries the right of first and last refusal to purchase NVIDIA. While many Linux users are quite fond of NVIDIA hardware and their proprietary graphics driver for being stable and largely carrying a performance and feature parity to the Windows driver, there's been many emails sent over to Phoronix about this news.
Some users have even come to think that NVIDIA will now stop supporting their Linux driver, that this pact is the entire reason why NVIDIA doesn't have an open-source Linux driver, etc. But in terms of any changes, this is an old document that's been of public record with the US Securities & Exchange Commission since 2000. Microsoft entered into this understanding with NVIDIA when they were providing the graphics IP for the original Microsoft Xbox game console.
This news isn't actually too surprising at all given the markets back then and this agreement coming as a result of the Xbox. Microsoft would face a very tough regulatory approval process if it were to ever try to acquire NVIDIA, but don't look for anything like that happening at least any time soon. NVIDIA also wouldn't be discontinuing their Linux support as they continue to be the dominant provider of graphics solutions for Linux-based workstations and render farms.
Those wishing to hear more about this NVIDIA and Microsoft escapade can find various other news postings on the matter, such as at The Inquirer and InformationWeek.
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