Wednesday, July 16th 2008

ATI (AMD) and NVIDIA Fix Prices in the US, Class Action Slapped Against them

Class actions charged against NVIDIA and ATI (now AMD) reveal that the two companies may have staged a competition over the past half-a-decade or so. A judge read out an email which suggested price fixing was rife in the graphics card market. That follows a class action of 51 different plaintiffs, now combined into one, and across different legal jurisdictions, alleging cartel behaviour not only in graphics chips, but flat panels and CRTs too.

In other words, NVIDIA and ATI may have been fixing prices of their products for a while now, it is believed that they held secret meetings to discuss staged competition, chart out prices, timings of product launches among other things. These pseudo-competitions staged provided improved sales among other things. A PDF File available to us at this point shows that the two indulged in conspiracy to mutually benefit from staged competition, so as to:

  • Fix, stabilize, and maintain prices of products in the US Market.
  • Artificial inflation of product prices.
Provided, are charts that show price-spread between NVIDIA and ATI products. Three major time-scales: Before the 'conspiracy period', during and after a federal grand jury launched an investigation and issued subpoenas to both companies:

Of course, the latest price-cut of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 200 series products doesn't seem to have been taken into account, the price spread between NVIDIA and ATI with their highest-offerings is zero.Sources: IT Examiner, Law.com
Add your own comment

98 Comments on ATI (AMD) and NVIDIA Fix Prices in the US, Class Action Slapped Against them

#1
newconroer
Megasty said:

Life sucks AMD & NV doesn't it. They would have probably never found out if the 2 idiots didn't start to fight like cats & dogs.
Or if certain people didn't start bitching and whining about how they couldn't afford their high end products....


Posted by FreedomEclipse
someone call up matrox & tell them how much the enthusiast market is missing them. Matrox have long since confined themselves to a box we call 'industry' - they need to take up arms & come out with a pincer move against ATi/Nv to show the world their absence has not been for nothing....

either that or one of the 3rd party companies like HiS & XFX, GeCube etc etc need to step out & start makin their own graphics cards.....



Eh, I'd rather see 3dfx back in the mix; however they once had near $600 cards too, I guess they're a part of the conspiracy!! ;rolls eyes;
Posted on Reply
#2
Megasty
newconroer said:
Or if certain people didn't start bitching and whining about how they couldn't afford their high end products....
There are people out there that don't mind paying extremely high prices for technology, but if the value isn't there then you're just paying for a name.
I already bought a GTX280, because I thought its value, $450 was pretty damn apparent for its performance.
This lawsuit BS arose from alegit beginnings of 5 yrs ago when we saw several highend cards from both sides priced at $499.
The AMD offerings may have been worth it but those FX cards were garbage. It only continued with the next 2 series.

Competition is one thing, but when you merely charge for a card because of another's price (not performance) then we have a problem.
Posted on Reply
#3
Darkrealms
newconroer said:
Or if certain people didn't start bitching and whining about how they couldn't afford their high end products....


Posted by FreedomEclipse
someone call up matrox & tell them how much the enthusiast market is missing them. Matrox have long since confined themselves to a box we call 'industry' - they need to take up arms & come out with a pincer move against ATi/Nv to show the world their absence has not been for nothing....

either that or one of the 3rd party companies like HiS & XFX, GeCube etc etc need to step out & start makin their own graphics cards.....



Eh, I'd rather see 3dfx back in the mix; however they once had near $600 cards too, I guess they're a part of the conspiracy!! ;rolls eyes;
Seconded on that and yeah I was one of the fools that bought the Voodoo5 just before their management killed them . . . Great products, great drivers, SUCKY management : (

. . . I have a 3dfx TV Tuner anyone interested, lol.
Posted on Reply
#4
mslide
Even is this really happened, I have no sympathy for those that shelled out $500+ for a video card and now feel raped. What's wrong with you people? For what purpose? Just to get a little better frame rate out of the latest and greatest FPS?

These lawsuits shouldn't even exist. Only crooked lawyers win. If you think something's too expensive, don't buy it. If everyone thought that way, the prices wouldn't be so insane.
Posted on Reply
#5
candle_86
actully whats the issue?

Prices have been raising on these things since 1999 with the TNT2 Ultra. I look at it like this double the power double the price.

The FX cards granted didnt do as well as hoped but there cost to make was still high.

6800Ultra had 2x the preforamnce of last gen and 2x the preformance of mid range. X800 the same.


7800GTX had 2x the preformace as seen when a single 7800GTX beat two 6800Ultras in SLI. 7900GTX has 2x as powerful as midrange. Ect, Ect. If you want 200 dollar cards untill last year we accepted wed get last gen highend power at best. 6600GT, 7600GT, 8600GT. or 9600pro, x700Pro, x1650XT, HD2600XT. So now we bitch about it. All this is gonna do is crash the video card growth, we are stunting it with our demands
Posted on Reply
#6
mlupple
Sure, let's bring NVid, ATI profits down to 1% and see what kind of innovation and new products we get. Early adopters are the ones who finance research and development for these companies. Stop bitching. If you had it your way, you wouldn't be able to play Crysis on max for another 20 years. There are plenty of affordable cards from both companies. STFU and GTFO and go play Wii.
Posted on Reply
#7
TheGuruStud
mlupple said:
Sure, let's bring NVid, ATI profits down to 1% and see what kind of innovation and new products we get. Early adopters are the ones who finance research and development for these companies. Stop bitching. If you had it your way, you wouldn't be able to play Crysis on max for another 20 years. There are plenty of affordable cards from both companies. STFU and GTFO and go play Wii.
The Wii :roll:
Posted on Reply
#8
brax
bah i say who cares, its not like anybody made you go buy either of their products. you made the decision to buy at whatever price...
Posted on Reply
#9
NamesDontMatter
mlupple said:
Sure, let's bring NVid, ATI profits down to 1% and see what kind of innovation and new products we get. Early adopters are the ones who finance research and development for these companies. Stop bitching. If you had it your way, you wouldn't be able to play Crysis on max for another 20 years. There are plenty of affordable cards from both companies. STFU and GTFO and go play Wii.
You clearly don't know anything about how companies work. You early adopters are paying for the CEO's salary and vacations, not for "R&D" thats always funded by INVESTORS. Basically you line their pockets, congrats!. Nothing better than free money, like those +20 HP chips on ebay free money for the sellers. Not consumers, sorry bud. Wishful thinking though.Returns or profits are gains of the owners, executives, and large shareholders. A small fraction of it will go back into R&D

BTW if you like to think of yourself as a investor go for it, but with rapid depreciation of value of video cards, and low returns for sales/trades after the high end cards "month of fame". So really just a terrible terrible investment, if you want to contribute to R&D buy some shares of AMD or Nvidia.
Posted on Reply
#10
candle_86
that is why i waited to move into the realm of high end, im a late adoptor

Got my 5900XT after the 6800 was out for about 4 months

Got my 6800GT when the 7800GTX 512 came out

Got my 7800GT when the 8800GTX came out

I only broke this rule once, my 8800GTS 512 and how do i miss it, but oh well right?
Posted on Reply
#11
Nyte
This is a load of crap. There's no such thing as a Game Developer's Conference being hosted by PCI-SIG (and there never was). Trust me, I would know.
Posted on Reply
#12
Ekklesis
Champ said:
So, all the competition is staged? Sounds more like the WWE to me. They have have been doing it for so long. no need to stop them now.
Not very logical but surely fun... :laugh:
Posted on Reply
#13
Ekklesis
Nyte said:
This is a load of crap. There's no such thing as a Game Developer's Conference being hosted by PCI-SIG (and there never was). Trust me, I would know.
Ahh? An "inside" AMD/ATI boy?Ok we trust you...
Posted on Reply
#14
Nyte
Ekklesis said:
Ahh? An "inside" AMD/ATI boy?Ok we trust you...
Ok... I don't see how that has any relevance to PCI-SIG hosting a Game Developers Conference...

Prove to me that the SIG has hosted such an event and I will personally Paypal you $150.
Posted on Reply
#16
Palit_Guy
Palit Representative
Did anyone read the email quote in the law.com article about this? Let me just post it here for you:
Vivoli wrote, in part, "I really think we should work harder together on the marketing front. As you and I have talked about, even though we are competitors, we have the common goal of making our category a well positioned, respected playing field. $5 and $8 stocks are a result of no respect." "That's not good for the defense," said Alsup after reading the e-mail aloud in the courtroom. "A jury would like to see this," he said.
To me this means that NV is concerned about the price of their stock. He's suggesting it's lower than he wants because no one respects either ATI or NV products. He further suggests that by working together on the marketing front they can increase the relevance of ATI/NV products and make everyone's stock worth more money.

He suggests they work together in the marketing of products, not the pricing of products. While that could result in an overall increase in selling price of products for both companies as the price of stock goes up, I don't think it really shows they were working together to artificially hold consumers hostage or "fix" pricing.

Check out this link: http://pc.ign.com/articles/382/382684p1.html
It shows the IGN Best of 2002 Awards for PC games. The first sentence of the article is, "To those who say PC gaming is dead, we say "Nuts!" The best role playing game for that year was Star Trek Bridge Commander and the best action game (pre FPS days I guess) was Mafia. BF1942 was the runner up (huh?).

This was back in the day of the original fanboi and graphics was all about playing second fiddle to CPU to get crazy performance. The way I interpret the above email from NV is them recognizing that graphics in general needed to become more important to people and the way to get there was through cooperation between the two companies. I don't see how artificially inflating the price of graphics cards could achieve that.

On the other hand, if you (as a graphics company) start doing some marketing to show how graphics cards improve a gamer's experience, 1. everyone sells more graphics cards and 2. game developers start to write games that take more advantage of graphics cards.

NV has a whole program (optimized PC, http://www.nvidia.com/object/balancedpc.html ) designed to show you how important the GPU is to getting the best gaming experience. I couldn't agree with them more on this subject and I'm glad to see they are trying to educate people on the subject.

But I don't think any of this points to price fixing at all.
Posted on Reply
#17
Palit_Guy
Palit Representative
I think the relative lack of difference in price should always be reviewed but isn't, by itself, a smoking gun.

In the IT industry when two competing products are separated by a compelling difference in performance, the lower performing part typically reduces their price to below that of the higher performing competitor. AMD and Intel have been playing that game for years. Intel wins on performance, AMD wins on price. Expect for that short lived time just before the Core2 came out when AMD was the more expensive part because they had the higher performance.

When lowering your price for the above reason you still have to stay in business so you can't give away the farm just to make up for the performance gap. So you lower price slowly until you get to the point where sales pick back up and then you leave it alone. You still want to make as much money as you can.

Therefore, when you find companies in close competition performance-wise, I would expect to see a very narrow margin difference between their selling prices. In fact, the narrowest margin possible.

Of course, you would see the same narrow margin if they were price fixing so all I'm saying is that just because there is little difference between prices, that isn't a smoking gun sign they are colluding.

So with these two posts, I'm not saying I think they are or they aren't. Personally, I'm leaning toward not, but it did make it to court. That tells me there is enough info to warrant an investigation. But until there is a judgment there's no reason to assume guilt for either party.
Posted on Reply
#18
tigger
I'm the only one
Any ideas how long it will take till we find out the outcome?
Posted on Reply
#19
Palit_Guy
Palit Representative
Based on all the TV shows I've ever seen I'd say sometime between never and forever.
Posted on Reply
#20
eidairaman1
The Exiled Airman
very good point at that, btw Palit Guy any idea how the Radeon 4K series are from Palit?
Posted on Reply
#21
Palit_Guy
Palit Representative
Oh no you don't. I'm not getting blamed for derailing this one. Start a new thread and PM me and I'll be happy to answer. Good stuff on that BTW.
Posted on Reply
#22
TheGuruStud
Palit_Guy said:
Oh no you don't. I'm not getting blamed for derailing this one.
Classic :D
Posted on Reply
Add your own comment