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Nvidia Corporation

legal form Corporation
ISIN US67066G1040
founding 1993
Seat Santa Clara , California United StatesUnited StatesUnited States 
management Jen-Hsun Huang (President and CEO )
Colette Kress ( EVP and CFO )
Number of employees 13,775 (2020)
sales 10.9 billion US dollars (2020)
Branch Microelectronics , information technology
Website nvidia.de

The Nvidia Corporation (proper spelling: NVIDIA Corporation, pronunciation: / ɪnvɪdiə / ) is one of the largest developers of graphics processors and chipsets for personal computers and game consoles . The headquarters are in Santa Clara , California . NVIDIA Corporation has no production facilities of its own and therefore works on the fabless principle.

In the Forbes Global 2000 of the world's largest companies, Nvidia ranks 572 (as of fiscal year 2017). The company had a market value of around US $ 155 billion in mid-2018.


NVIDIA headquarters in Santa Clara

The company was founded in January 1993 by Jen-Hsun Huang, Curtis Priem and Chris Malachowsky. With the NV1 (STG-2000), Nvidia brought out one of the first 3D accelerators - processors ( GPU ) in May 1995 . Since this was based on the NURBS technology, it was unable to establish itself on the market due to compatibility problems. Due to this failure, the Nvidia brand was relatively unknown until 1997/98. Change brought the series of Riva PC graphics chips, which founded the success of the company.

In January 1999, Nvidia was included in the NASDAQ (NVDA) and in the same year delivered the ten millionth graphics chip. In February 2002 over 100 million graphics chips had been shipped. Nvidia is also cooperating with Sony to develop graphics chips for the PlayStation 3 and other devices. Even if the company is now much more broadly positioned than in the early years due to various takeovers, its market power is still based primarily on the series of Geforce graphics chips, which was presented for the first time in 1999.

In December 2006, the US Department of Justice opened a case against Nvidia for violating competition law. A year later, Forbes Magazine selected Nvidia as Company of the Year 2007 for its outstanding success in recent years.

Bigger acquisitions

  • On December 15, 2000, Nvidia took over its largest competitor in the graphics chip market, the chip designer and graphics card maker 3dfx, for around US $ 120 million and has been the market leader in this segment ever since. Apart from taking over patents and some employees, Nvidia only used the takeover to eliminate a competitor. All 3dfx product lines were immediately discontinued.
  • On August 4, 2003, Nvidia acquired MediaQ , a leading provider of graphics and multimedia technologies for wireless mobile devices, which was founded in 1997 in Santa Clara , for a price of approximately US $ 70 million . MediaQ's main sales areas were 2.5G and 3G cell phones, PDAs, LCD screens and other mobile devices. MediaQ's customers included leading cell phone and PDA manufacturers such as Mitsubishi , Siemens , Dell , HP , Palm , Philips , Sharp and Sony .
  • On December 14, 2005, Nvidia acquired ULi , one of its largest competitors in the chipset market, for approximately $ 52 million . Besides taking over patents and a few employees, Nvidia only used this takeover to eliminate a competitor. All product lines of the acquired company were discontinued immediately.
  • On March 22, 2006, Nvidia acquired the Finnish company Hybrid Graphics , a 2D and 3D graphics software developer for mobile devices, for approximately US $ 37 million . Three months later, the two companies brought out the first developer kit for cell phones and PDAs based on Windows Mobile 5.0 . Hybrid Graphics did not sell any products to end customers, but relied exclusively on sales via the manufacturers.
  • On November 6, 2006, Nvidia acquired the Californian company PortalPlayer for approximately US $ 357 million . PortalPlayer is a manufacturer of ARM -based CPUs. B. the first generation of iPods from Apple . As a result of the takeover, Nvidia suddenly became one of the largest providers of so-called SoC (System on a Chip). Immediately after the takeover, all PortalPlayer product lines were withdrawn from the market and reissued under Nvidia's brand names. Nvidia is currently trying to combine its graphics card technology with the CPU components and thus bring it to the handheld market. The product line launched for this is called Nvidia Tegra .
  • On November 30, 2007, Nvidia took over Mental Images GmbH from Berlin for around US $ 88 million . Mental Images GmbH was a developer of ray tracing software and is now an independent subsidiary of Nvidia. The reason for the takeover was probably the purchase of knowledge in this area, since ray tracing is seen as a future key technology in the field of computer (game) graphics.
  • On February 4, 2008, Nvidia took over its largest competitor in the physics processor market, Ageia . Immediately after the takeover, all of the competitor's product lines were discontinued. The physics acceleration technology developed by Ageia was integrated into its graphics card driver by Nvidia, so that all graphics cards from the Geforce 8 series support physics acceleration on the hardware side.
  • On March 11, 2019, Nvidia acquired its Israeli competitor Mellanox for $ 6.8 billion. According to insiders, Intel also seemed interested. The takeover is strategically important for Nvidia, as it allows the future-oriented cloud business to be expanded, which accounts for over 30% of sales.

Sales and profit development

Because Nvidia has outsourced its entire chip production to external partners such as TSMC or UMC since the beginning of its business activity (and therefore does not have to maintain its own chip factories), it was possible to show an extreme rate of growth in the early years.

This growth was not slowed until the end of 2002 (Nvidia fiscal year 2003) when ATI brought an extremely powerful graphics chip onto the market with the R300 . Since mid-2005 (Nvidia financial year 2006), Nvidia has been growing again with a much broader product portfolio at high speed and with enormous profit margins, whereby the main driver of sales is still the graphics cards.

With the introduction of the DirectX 10-capable GeForce 8 series in 2006/07 (Nvidia fiscal year 2007/08), Nvidia experienced a further surge in growth, as AMD's competitor ATI Radeon HD 2000 series was and was too late when it appeared in the high-end and performance segment, could not position itself successfully against the Nvidia cards. The company suffered further setbacks in 2008 and 2009 (Nvidia financial year 2009/10), mainly caused by the general decline in graphics cards sold due to the economic crisis . In addition, there was growing competition from the powerful Radeon HD 4000 series from long-term competitor AMD and a sharp decline in market shares in the chipset industry. In the 2010/11 fiscal year, the delayed introduction of DirectX11 capable GPUs dampened growth. The development of the Fermi platform and the Tegra processors for the smartphone market brought sales and earnings growth in 2011 and 2012.

GJ Revenue
million US $
million US $

Return on sales
1996 4th −3 - -75%
1997/98 38 −2 850% −5%
1999 151 4th 297% 3%
2000 375 41 148% 11%
2001 735 98 96% 13%
2002 1369 142 86% 10%
2003 1909 51 39% 3%
2004 1823 49 −5% 3%
2005 2010 87 10% 4%
2006 2376 301 18% 13%
2007 3069 449 29% 15%
2008 4098 798 34% 19%
2009 3425 −30 −16% −1%
2010 3326 −68 −3% −2%
2011 3543 253 7% 7%
2012 3998 581 13% 15%
2013 4280 563 7% 13%
2014 4130 440 −4% 11%
2015 4682 631 13% 13%
2016 5010 614 7% 12%
2017 6910 1666 38% 24%
2018 9714 3047 41% 31%
2019 11,716 4141 21% 35%
2020 10,918 2796 −7% 26%


Graphics chips for PCs

PCI - Graphics card with Riva 128 (NV3), with the Nvidia 1997 breakthrough
Graphics processor on an Nvidia Geforce 6600GT

Chipsets for PCs

From June 2001, Nvidia also offered chipsets for motherboards . These were sold under the brand name nForce . At the end of 2005, the chipset manufacturer ULi Electronics was also taken over. Nvidia offered chipsets for AMD and Intel platforms, mainly to have a basis for the multi-GPU technology Scalable Link Interface (SLI). In November 2011, CEO Jen-Hsun Huang announced that Nvidia had stopped manufacturing chipsets and would instead focus on manufacturing SoCs .

Criticism: In general, the drivers from Nvidia were seen as the weak point of the chipsets. The IDE drivers in particular caused problems more often. The drivers for the SoundStorm also took some time to work properly. According to an article by ZDNet , Nvidia drivers caused about 30% of Windows Vista crashes in spring 2007. In view of the many “devices” in a chipset, it is difficult to assess whether this is a rather high or a rather low proportion.

Another point of criticism was the high heat development, especially of the nForce4 chipsets.

Graphics chips for consoles

HPC (High Performance Computing) products

CPU / SoC chips


Tablet PCs

In September 2013 it was announced that Nvidia will publish a specially developed tablet computer under the name Tegra Note . The Tegra Note will have the Tegra 4 processor , a 7-inch display and a 5-megapixel camera on the back.

Nvidia Shield Tablet has been available since 2014 .

Components of self-driving motor vehicles

Nvidia produces a platform for artificial intelligence in self-driving vehicles under the name Nvidia Drive . After a fatal accident involving a vehicle belonging to the Uber passenger transport company , Nvidia temporarily stopped test drives with its components' vehicles.

GPU Technology Conference

Under the title GPU Technology Conference , Nvidia is holding an in- house exhibition at which new technologies are regularly presented. The forerunner of this in-house exhibition was NVision , which took place for the first time in autumn 2008, but was then canceled for financial reasons. With this in-house exhibition, Nvidia primarily wants to address trade visitors such as engineers, scientists and journalists.


Linux driver

Linus Torvalds , the main developer of the Linux kernel , described Nvidia as "the worst company" he and his team had worked with so far. His displeasure is based on the lack of driver support for Nvidia graphics chips under Linux and the lack of cooperation between Nvidia and the kernel developers. Nvidia itself does not provide a free driver with 3D support for Linux. That is why the open source developer community has set to work itself and started developing a free driver under the name nouveau . Since Nvidia is not involved in the project, the developers have to make do with reverse engineering of the proprietary Nvidia driver.


Nvidia have been accused of marketing trickery in the past.

  • At the GPU Technology Conference 2009, the Nvidia boss personally presented a wooden dummy as the first graphics card with Fermi architecture .
  • The full support of DirectX 11.1 for Geforce 600 graphics cards , suggested in several places, turned out to be incomplete. A similar accusation is made with regard to DirectX 12 support of the Geforce 900 series .
  • With the introduction of the Geforce GTX 970 , Nvidia published incorrect technical information about the new graphics card. In contrast to the actual technical properties, there are restrictions on memory access . However, this only became known on the basis of user tests. Nvidia only publicly commented on the allegations after massive criticism and filing a lawsuit in the USA.

Geforce partner program

Nvidia is accused by the competition of prohibiting graphics card manufacturers through the Geforce partner program from also installing non-Nvidia chips (e.g. from AMD) under the brand participating in the partner program. Quite a few graphics card manufacturers have established other brands.

Web links

Commons : Nvidia  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. http://nvidianews.nvidia.com/bios
  2. a b NVIDIA balance sheet income statement | Key figures | Sales | Profit. Retrieved August 25, 2020 .
  3. ^ The World's Largest Public Companies . In: Forbes . ( forbes.com [accessed July 17, 2018]).
  4. nvidia.de p. 93; Retrieved February 8, 2015
  5. nvidia.de p. 95; Retrieved February 8, 2015
  6. a b nvidia.de p. 99; Retrieved February 8, 2015
  7. Tom Krazit: Justice Dept. subpoenas AMD, Nvidia. In: zdnet.com. December 1, 2006, accessed August 17, 2012 .
  8. zdnet.de accessed on February 8, 2015
  9. Christian Klaß: NVidia buys 3dfx for 112 million US dollars . In: Golem.de . December 16, 2000. Retrieved June 15, 2015.
  10. Jens Ihlenfeld: Nvidia buys MediaQ . In: Golem.de . August 3, 2003. Retrieved June 15, 2015.
  11. Jens Ihlenfeld: Nvidia takes over chipset manufacturer ULi . In: Golem.de . December 14, 2005. Retrieved June 15, 2015.
  12. Christian Klaß: Nvidia takes over Hybrid Graphics . In: Golem.de . March 22, 2006. Retrieved June 15, 2015.
  13. Nico Ernst: Nvidia buys iPod supplier PortalPlayer . In: Golem.de . November 6, 2006. Retrieved June 15, 2015.
  14. ^ Christian Klaß: Nvidia buys Mental Ray developers . In: Golem.de . December 21, 2007. Retrieved June 15, 2015.
  15. Christian Klaß: Nvidia takes over PhysX developer Ageia . In: Golem.de . February 5, 2008. Retrieved June 15, 2015.
  16. Acquisition of Nvidia worth billions . In: boerse.ard.de . March 11, 2019.
  17. NVIDIA Financial Statements 2005-2020 | NVDA. Retrieved April 27, 2020 .
  18. ^ Nvidia: We Are Not Building Chipsets Anymore. ( Memento of the original from October 18, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. In: xbitlabs. November 11, 2011. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.xbitlabs.com
  19. Nvidia drivers cause most Vista crashes (March 31, 2008)
  20. $ 200 tablet with Tegra 4 and pen input from Nvidia . In: heise online . September 19, 2013. Retrieved October 15, 2013.
  21. Groundbreaking Innovations: NVIDIA Automotive Solutions . Nvidia website (accessed March 28, 2018).
  22. Uber: Nvidia stops testing self-driving cars. Zeit Online , published March 28, 2018 (accessed March 28, 2018).
  23. NVision 08 on nvidia.com
  24. GPU Technology Conference on nvidia.com
  25. Jörg Thoma: Linus Torvalds: Stinkefinger for Nvidia. Golem.de , June 18, 2012, accessed December 11, 2014 .
  26. Björn Greif: Linus Torvalds complains about Nvidia's lack of Linux support. ZDNet , June 18, 2012, accessed on December 11, 2014 .
  27. Martin Fischer: Comment: Nvidia's dirty card tricks. In: heise online. January 27, 2015
  28. Volker Briegleb: GTC: The Fermi card shown was a dummy. In: heise online. October 3, 2009.
  29. Martin Fischer: Nvidia's Kepler GPUs are not fully compatible with DirectX 11.1. In: heise online. November 21, 2012
  30. Martin Fischer: [1] In: heise online. April 18, 2018.