Graphics Card Maker on The Make

The competition between computer graphics card makers to be ubiquitous in the PC world has jumped outside the box and into your cell phone. Or it soon will.

Santa Clara-based nVidia Corp. announced today that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire MediaQ, Inc., the leading provider of graphics and multimedia technology for wireless mobile devices.

Under the terms of the agreement, nVidia will acquire privately-held MediaQ for $70 million. The acquisition, expected to be completed in the third quarter of fiscal year 2004, has been approved by the board of directors of each company. The transaction still has to be approved by the SEC.

Founded in 1997, MediaQ’s core technologies enhance visual display capabilities, improve connectivity, and minimize chip and system-level power consumption. The company enhances its semiconductor product offerings with a comprehensive set of software, including drivers for major mobile operating systems (Microsoft PocketPC, Microsoft SmartPhone, Palm, Symbian) and APIs that improve OEM time to market. Key market segments are 3G and 2.5G handsets, PDAs, LCD displays, and other mobile devices. MediaQ customers include leading handset and PDA manufacturers, such as Mitsubishi, Siemens, DBTel, Dell, HP, Palm, Philips, Sharp, and Sony.

“We’re delighted to join forces with nVidia,” says MediaQ, president and CEO Elie Antoun. “MediaQ’s customers will benefit from nVidia’s vast technology and engineering resources, manufacturing prowess, and global support infrastructure.”

As evidenced at this year’s SIGGRAPH, the competition between nVidia and competitor ATI to be the dominant graphics solution is at a high level. In fact, it may say something about the maturity of the high-end prosumer PC/Mac market that the buzz among users is no longer about macro issues such chip speed or memory but micro issues such as the power of any particular machines’ graphics card. “This acquisition supports nVidia’s strategy of extending our platform reach and accelerates our entry into the wireless mobile markets,” says nVidia’s CEO Jen-Hsun Huang.

More details will be provided during nVidia’s quarterly conference call to be held on August 7, 2003.