Things are not looking good for NVIDIA and ATI, as they face a class-action suit in California over accusations of price fixing and colluding to keep GPU prices artificially buoyant. In the most damning piece of evidence so far heard by the court, presiding Judge William Alsup read out a 2002 email from NVIDIA’s senior VP of marketing, Dan Vivoli, to ATI’s president and COO Dave Orton, in which, it is suggested, he discusses conspiring to synchronize product releases.
“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” Dan Vivoli, senior vice president of marketing, NVIDIA in email to ATI’s president and chief operating officer, Dave Orton
The defence team had previously attempted to keep the email, together with other documents seized as part of the case, sealed, claiming that they could be considered “trade secrets”. It was a move that frustrated the Judge:
“This court is not a wholly-owned subsidiary of your companies. I am against you hiding information from the public. If we get to summary judgment in this case nothing will be under seal” Judge Alsup
Alsup later went on to tell the prosecution team that “[I don’t care] if it is under seal and it is the recipe for Coke, you have my permission to blurt it out.” The class action brings together 51 different civil cases accusing the two companies of fixing GPU prices.