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Nvidia to buy 3dfx?

So an unnamed BusinessWeak source reckons...

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Nvidia is shaping up to buy arch-rival 3dfx, according to an analyst, according to BusinessWeek, according to Yahoo! Finance, according to ElecticNews.

We checked our own copy of the 30 October issue of BusinessWeek, but were unable to track down the cited article. This is possibly because we have the weedy European edition, which has an interesting (allegedly) item on Russia's oil industry instead. Ahem.

But here it is, on BW's Web site: "Nvidia could solve a lot of problems by buying 3dfx outright," says one unnamed analyst.

Problems? That's a reference to 3dfx's 1998 patent infringement case against its arch-rival, which now looks set - though it's not certain - to go 3dfx's way. Nvidia's solution to paying huge damages to 3dfx would be, according to said analyst, to buy up its enemy.

That, ponders BW, would give Nvidia access to 3D graphics chip developer GigaPixel's technology. "By acquiring 3dfx, a buyer could gain control of GigaPixel's technology, which produces chips that require less power," claims BW.

That may be the case - though we're not entirely sure it is - but what really distinguishes GigaPixel is its ability to render complex scenes more rapidly than other technologies do by breaking them down into MPEG 2-style tiles, a point that BusinessWeak misses completely.

Still, Nvidia could buy 3dfx, whose stock is currently trading at just over three bucks a pop, grab itself some neat technology and kill a major competitor in the process.

But then we note: "One New York investment manager, a big 3dfx stakeholder, says this turn of events creates a 'potential home run for anyone who buys 3dfx stock at its currently depressed price'." Wouldn't be desperate to talk up 3dfx's stock would he, this "big" investor? BW wouldn't have fallen for it? Surely not. ®

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The original BusinessWeak story can be found here

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