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With Tighter Licensing Rules, Nvidia Walks Fine Line

Last week, Nvidia signaled it was going to start cracking down on customers who use consumer graphics chips for business-related projects to avoid higher licensing charges. The move rattled companies that have long used these chips for scientific research. But another Nvidia licensing change, which hasn’t been previously reported, could have a much bigger impact.

Nvidia has introduced new rules that require customers to keep more accurate records of how they use Nvidia’s chips and software. At the same time, Nvidia expanded its authority to audit customers to make sure they follow the rules. While Nvidia’s intentions aren’t entirely clear, it appears customers have less latitude to customize Nvidia software than they have had in the past. The changes could affect tens of thousands of Nvidia customers around the world, said people familiar with the matter.

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