Did NVIDIA and ATI Engage in Price Fixing?

The answer, it would seem, is yes — probably.

An anti-trust suit filed against the two companies has unearthed an interesting exchange of documents between Dan Vivoli, NVIDIA’s [NASDAQ:NVDA] Senior VP of Marketing and ATI’s [TSE:ATY – Inactive] President and COO Dave Orton. According to the documents, which were made public by the court this week, Vivoli sent Orton an email saying:

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.

What action the two men and their respective companies took regarding this exchange is still unclear, but sufficed to say the courts have deemed it an issue of considerable interest. What the public has been told of the consipracy is consistent with common sense regarding graphics cards: while other computer componentry prices continue to drop appreciably, graphics card prices are still ludicrously high, even for their impressive specs. Instead of cutting prices, apparently “competition” in this sector of the market actually means price fixing.CD