Update: As Semiaccurate.com's Charlie Demerjian himself informs us, it was actually he who first wrote about Nvidia halting chipset development, albeit in more dire terms, back in August for his old haunt the Inquirer. Link here. Fair enough. We'll still credit Ryan Shrout at PC Perspective for obtaining what we understand to be the first on the record acknowledgment from Nvidia.
Credit PC Perspective for digging out the news that Nvidia has put its NForce chipset development on hiatus. Nvidia will continue to supply the market with current-generation NForce chipsets as necessary, but due to Nvidia's licensing battle with Intel, Nvidia has halted development of new NForce chipsets for both Intel and AMD CPUs.
The dispute over the terms of Nvidia's license to make chipsets for Intel processors began last year prior to the launch of Intel's first batch of Core i7 processors. Each company has filed suit against the other, although the most recent reports on the conflict had Nvidia moving forward with a Core i7-compatible chipset.
Having only announced its new Fermi graphics chip architecture, Nvidia lags behind AMD in introducing a next-generation graphics product. AMD has already launched its Windows 7-ready Radeon HD 5800-series graphics cards, based on an updated version of its RV770 chip design. Combine AMD beating Nvidia to market with Intel's impending Larrabee discrete graphics product due out next year, as well as combined CPU/GPU designs in the works from both Intel and AMD, and it's easy to suggest that Nvidia now finds itself in a difficult competitive position.
Arguing against that assessment is the fact that Nvidia has worked actively the past few years to expand its business beyond its traditional desktop products. It has spent a lot of time and effort emphasizing its graphics chips for both high-level computing via its CUDA technology, as well as refocusing its GeForce 9300 and 9400 mobile chips with the Ion moniker to help them stand out in the ever-expanding Netbook market. Nvidia also has invested heavily in developing and marketing its Tegra graphics chip family for handheld and mobile devices. None of those strategies guarantees success for Nvidia, but it's also clear that Nvidia has taken steps to expand its interests beyond the desktop products with which we're most familiar.