Microsoft apparently has long terms plans for Nvidia, as regulatory documents unearthed by a US technology website show that the graphics chip manufacturer has signed an agreement with Microsoft giving it the "exclusive right to match any offer for 30% or more of Nvidia's outstanding shares by a third-party".
InformationWeek adds that this may be a preemptive move by Microsoft to block any potential hostile acquisition that may affect its future roadmap.
Nvidia has been one of the more active semiconductor manufacturers on the market and has committed to bringing to the SoC market the same annual product release cycle that made it a successful company as it battled for years against archrival ATI.
Microsoft highlighted the importance of Nvidia when it showcased a laptop and a tablet running on the four core version of Tegra, Kal-El which should be launched later this year.
It could also mean that Nvidia will be at the core of the next Xbox 360 console as well whether as an SoC or only the graphics subsystem.
Only one company has the motivation and the deep pockets to buy Nvidia: Apple. As it also has another graphics company, Imagination Technologies, it is likely that Apple would eye Nvidia for its expertise in SoCs.