As I was typing my upcoming "State of 3D" analysis, I was going through the recordings of public speeches nVidia execs gave during 2009 and encountered something that might be considered as the key evidence in how many problems nVidia got with the long-delayed Fermi architecture.

Back on June 16th, 2009 nVidia hosted its traditional Financial Analyst Day, and during the Q&A session, an analyst asked Jen-Hsun the following question: "There has been a lot of talk about, I don’t know, [being] nine months behind or something…on DX11 versus your competitor, maybe… some people are worried you might be losing share because of that."

After hearing that question, Jen-Hsun Huang, nVidia’s co-founder, President & CEO gave quite an interesting answer:

"Nobody has shipped DX11 yet. We are just disciplined about not talking about the future. And the reason for that is because assuming you guys care to follow our Company, you actually care about our present. If I don’t have a present, I will talk about my future. But I don’t want to talk about my future because I’m selling GeForce really well. I’ve got a great new architecture coming and when it comes I will tell everybody about it. Until then, I let somebody else go talk smack. You don’t hear Apple standing up on a podium and say we have great Macs coming because it is going to have this and this. They don’t talk like that. Market leaders don’t do that. You’re not supposed to tell all your competitor’s your secrets. I didn’t read that in any books. So why are they doing that? It’s weird. I don’t get it either. It’s a good question. "

The key takes from this answer:

  • We don’t talk about the competition
  • We don’t talk about the future
  • We don’t talk about the products until we have it
  • We are a market leader and we are not telling competitors nVidia’s secrets
  • "If I don’t have a present, I will talk about my future."

Now, fast forward to September 30th, 2009 at 1:40PM Pacific time. Jen-Hsun hosted its keynote, which we watched from the press room. Given our media coverage of GPU Technology Conference, you might ask yourself why we didn’t attend the keynote nor the press conference in which we could actually see the card live. The simple reason for that was that nVidia barred BSN* from the keynote after we disclosed the architectural details on NV70/GT300 chip.

But getting back to the subject, Jen-Hsun’s keynote on GTC was all over the fact that Fermi is the future and that Fermi parts will be brilliant. Now, we do agree that this architecture represents a lighting jump into the parallelism world, but the unfortunate part is – there are no NV70/GT300/GF100/Fermi parts available on-line. According to our sources, the high-end GeForce products will be available by the end of 2009, with Quadro, Tesla, mainstream, low-end and dual-GPU parts all arriving in 1H 2010. But the problem that we have here is that from one side, a leader of the company says one thing on analyst day, and 100 days later, does a 180 degree turn.

With nVidia winning so many Tegra and Tesla contracts, we cannot stop pondering how come nVidia did a 180 degree turn and started to talk about NV70/Fermi on the GPU Tech Conference. Regardless of nVidia liking it or not, over the course of next several weeks, we are going to disclose some of the key contracts the company signed for Tesla and Tegra parts, and continue to ponder why the sudden change of mind.

Picture credit: Due to reasons mentioned above, we don’t have a picture of Jen-Hsun Huang and Fermi card in our photo archive. This picture was originally published by InsideHPC.