Nvidia CEO says Intel’s Atom could hurt the hardware and software industries

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Nvidia CEO says Intel's Atom could hurt the hardware and software industries

Santa Clara (CA) – Yesterday,’s Mark Spoonauer sat down with Nvidia CEO, Jen-Hsun Huang, who had some very outspoken things to say about Intel’s Atom processor, including “Atom could potentially hurt the software industry.”

The interview is a fairly lengthy read, but here are some key points. We’ve highlighted portions in bold to make them stand out. The original article reads without such emphasis:

Question #1:
“What’s your take on netbooks right now?”

Jen-Hsun Huang replied: “We’re all trying to figure out what a netbook is. From my perspective, anything that has an X86 processor and has Windows running on it is really a PC. If I were to ask a million people, What do you call something with a Microsoft operating system called Windows and X86 processor from Intel, I would think that 99.9999 percent of them, except for the Intel marketing person, would call it a PC. I think that so far, what a netbook is, is a low-cost PC that doesn’t work that well. We all know that there’s a price point around $299 to $399 where people would love to buy a new PC.”

Question #2:
“So what’s wrong with today’s netbooks?”

Jen-Hsun Huang replied: “The Atom platform is creating an installed base that doesn’t run modern applications. It doesn’t run anything well from Electronic Arts, it doesn’t run anything well from Adobe, it doesn’t run anything well from Microsoft. I just mentioned the top software companies in the world. So in a way, the Atom platform is creating an installed base of PCs that’s going to eventually hurt the PC software industry.

“I think we all have to be very thoughtful about the proliferation of PCs that are inferior to what people think a PC should be, yet still is a PC.”

Question #7:
“It’s been reported that Intel is discouraging the uptake of Ion by forcing customers to buy the Atom processor and Intel’s chipset as a bundle and by not validating your chipset. Have you heard anything similar?”

Jen-Hsun Huang replied: “I’ve heard all kinds of stories about what Intel is doing. I’ve brushed it off so far as rumors, as I couldn’t understand why Intel would limit great PCs from reaching the market. Great PCs help Intel. Great PCs help humanity. Great PCs are great for the entire industry and entire market. What the industry needs are products that really excite consumers, so that even in these difficult times they’ll come back to buy PCs. I would hope that Intel isn’t doing anything to prevent consumers from getting the most innovative products, in this case, built around Atom, their own processor. I think consumers would be really disappointed if they learned that Intel is sabotaging their ability to get access to breakthrough technologies.”

See’s full interview blog.