Friday, January 23rd 2009

Intel to Call on AMD, to Discuss Possible License Violations

Silicon giant Intel flexed its IPR muscle by reportedly calling rival AMD to discussions on possible violations of past license agreements. AMD and Intel share license agreements dating back to 1976, which eventually transformed into the agreement of letting AMD use Intel's x86 micro-architecture in making its own products. Later in 2001, the two companies met again to share x86-related technologies. Such agreements bind licensees of the x86 architecture to confining their technologies to themselves as the license is non-transferable.

The two companies are expected to meet to discuss on how the past two major events in the recent history of AMD: the acquisition of ATI Technologies, and the spin-off of the manufacturing division to The Foundry Company respect the terms of the agreements. Earlier, AMD stated that the ATI acquisition does not violate any of its cross-agreements with Intel, while the company sounds optimistic about getting The Foundry Company to existence smoothly through one of its big hurdles: a clean-chit from Intel, after having crossed bigger hurdles such as government approvals and support from the various countries it holds its facilities in.Source: TechConnect Magazine
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33 Comments on Intel to Call on AMD, to Discuss Possible License Violations

#1
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
I can't see Intel getting anywhere in regards to x86 with the acquisition of ATI but Intel definitely has something on AMD's creating The Foundry Company. The rights to x86 aren't transferable yet AMD has transferred them. I'd say it's a definitive violation of the license agreement so AMD best be prepared to pony up for a second license in addition to penalties for violating the license. It doesn't bode well for AMD at all.
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#2
Error 404
I really hope they can come to an agreement, this would be a big break for AMD.
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#3
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
AMD's contention is that its processors will be designed by it, while merely being manufactured by TFC, as with any fabless company. For example: VIA/Cyrix/Centaur have/had been making x86 chips for years while being fabless, using foundry-partners.

Intel's contention is that tomorrow TFC can use loopholes in AMD's agreement (since AMD remains a stakeholder in TFC), to form a new CPU maker, brandishing the license the "AMD part" of the company holds.
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#4
Laurijan
Another law-suit.. i am getting sick of them..
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#5
WarEagleAU
Bird of Prey
Then AMD can take their 64 bit arch from Intel, not like it would hurt them anyways. What it seems to me is that Intel just wants AMD gone. I hope that doesnt happen but who knows.
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#6
Beertintedgoggles
How is this a news story when the original source (TechConnect Magazine) doesn't even state their source (in fact it looks just like a user post that doesn't understand it)?? I could see Intel discussing possible future license violations if TFC had a spinoff that started to use the x86 arch to design but as mentioned by bt, so far AMD is going the same route as VIA.... design the processor and use a foundry to fabricate. This just sounds more like Intel is meeting to tell them "Don't go down that route!"
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#7
Marineborn
in my opinion intels just crying and trying to get publicity by stiring up crap
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#8
Darkrealms
by: btarunr
AMD's contention is that its processors will be designed by it, while merely being manufactured by TFC, as with any fabless company. For example: VIA/Cyrix/Centaur have/had been making x86 chips for years while being fabless, using foundry-partners.

Intel's contention is that tomorrow TFC can use loopholes in AMD's agreement (since AMD remains a stakeholder in TFC), to form a new CPU maker, brandishing the license the "AMD part" of the company holds.
by: Beertintedgoggles
How is this a news story when the original source (TechConnect Magazine) doesn't even state their source (in fact it looks just like a user post that doesn't understand it)?? I could see Intel discussing possible future license violations if TFC had a spinoff that started to use the x86 arch to design but as mentioned by bt, so far AMD is going the same route as VIA.... design the processor and use a foundry to fabricate. This just sounds more like Intel is meeting to tell them "Don't go down that route!"
Read btarunr's above post. I'm inclined to agree with him on that. Intel is probably making sure nothing can be done by TFC (itself) as it is partially owned by AMD. Intel may also be reminding AMD that AMD can use x86 but ATI can not. Intel can't do anything to Nvidia for its CUDA but they can make sure ATI isn't getting any help with the x86 instruction set.
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#9
TheMailMan78
Big Member
I'm not so sure I agree with Intel on this one. Possible violation of license agreements? I'm a share holder in AMD and the whole foundry movement from what Iv been told is to cheapen the margin of manufacturing. The public will not see a major price difference but the CPU will bring better profit. I think Intel is just pissed off at some better competition coming down the line.

After all AMD never transfered the licenses. They are just expanding their manufacturing base which is a good sign! Honestly I think this is a scare tactic to AMD shareholders. If that is the case Intel can go to hell.
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#10
Mega-Japan
lol, this is fun fun fun, let's just let them kill each other.
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#11
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
by: WarEagleAU
Then AMD can take their 64 bit arch from Intel, not like it would hurt them anyways. What it seems to me is that Intel just wants AMD gone. I hope that doesnt happen but who knows.
Intel can survive without x86-64, to which it already made enough modifications to call it its own (Intel64), but AMD can't survive without x86. AMD64 is a subset of x86. It's not a microarchitecture on its own.
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#12
mdm-adph
Intel starts to lose major money and lay people off, so they bring out the lawsuit stick.

Figures.
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#13
3870x2
by: FordGT90Concept
I can't see Intel getting anywhere in regards to x86 with the acquisition of ATI but Intel definitely has something on AMD's creating The Foundry Company. The rights to x86 aren't transferable yet AMD has transferred them. I'd say it's a definitive violation of the license agreement so AMD best be prepared to pony up for a second license in addition to penalties for violating the license. It doesn't bode well for AMD at all.
Being that they were transferred to private child companies, it is a gray area.
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#14
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
Read what you said...

"...they were transferred...."

It doesn't matter who is involved, the license is non-transferable. AMD is going to have to bribe Intel in order not to get sued.
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#15
DanTheBanjoman
Señor Moderator
by: WarEagleAU
Then AMD can take their 64 bit arch from Intel, not like it would hurt them anyways. What it seems to me is that Intel just wants AMD gone. I hope that doesnt happen but who knows.
How so? How does Intel violate the License? Intel doesn't want AMD gone, they're their only competition. Killing them = even more lawsuits. Surely they wish to control them, but that's just how business is. If Intel wanted AMD gone, and legally could, AMD wouldn't be here today.
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#16
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
Yeah, like Intel has a right to entirely revoke the x86 license from AMD but if they did, the government would come down on them with lots of anti-competition lawsuits that would beat Intel to a very smooth pulp.
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#17
KBD
by: FordGT90Concept
Yeah, like Intel has a right to entirely revoke the x86 license from AMD but if they did, the government would come down on them with lots of anti-competition lawsuits that would beat Intel to a very smooth pulp.
Yea, i think you have point there. If Intel were to kill off AMD the govt would come down hard on them, especially since this new administration is not as corporate-friendly as the previous one. But then again, the govt did let a few other monopolies get away with it for years, Microsoft is one example. Even though they were sued many times and restrictions were imposed on them they are still a monopoly.
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#18
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
There's nothing illegal about a monopoly. What is illegal is when company A has a monopoly and does something to make sure company B can't compete. An example of something illegal is buying up competitors or paying favors to company C to make sure they don't offer company B's products (I think Intel was found guilty there in the case of Dell but I don't recall how that ended).

Microsoft just makes a damn good product. You can't consider being the best anti-competitive (aka antitrust) unless there was actually some illegal endeavours going on to make it, or keep it that way.
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#19
KBD
by: FordGT90Concept
There's nothing illegal about a monopoly. What is illegal is when company A has a monopoly and does something to make sure company B can't compete. An example of something illegal is buying up competitors or paying favors to company C to make sure they don't offer company B's products (I think Intel was found guilty there in the case of Dell but I don't recall how that ended).

Microsoft just makes a damn good product. You can't consider being the best anti-competitive (aka antitrust) unless there was actually some illegal endeavours going on to make it, or keep it that way.
i thought that being a monopoly was illegal. I remember some companies were even broken up becausde of that. But they may have committed violations like the ones you mentioned so that may have been the reason, i dont remember all the details. I think that even if its not illegal now, it should be made illegal in the US, some countries do have laws like that and it is beneficial to the consumers.
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#20
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
Most of the companies that were broken up (like Standard Oil) had next to no competition because they either chased them out of the country or bought them. That leads to price inflation and other things of that sort. At which case, the only way to really create competition again is to slice and dice the company into many parts (in the case of Standard Oil, that was Exxon, Mobile, Cheveron, Amoco, Conoco, Pennzoil, and others). The size of Standard Oil back in the 1900s dwarfs what Microsoft is today (most modern corporations, in fact).

Microsoft holds a strong majority on a lot of software markets but there is a problem with breaking it up: you won't be creating two competing entities. In the case of Standard Oil, they broke it up by location so that the varying locations would still compete with each other. How would you break up, say Microsoft's Windows division? The only way to break up Microsoft is by product where Windows ends up as one company, Office ends up as another, etc. In the end, that doesn't promote competition at all because they aren't producing the same products. All you'd do is eliminate the overhead.

Wal-Mart, for instance, could be broken up by an antitrust lawsuit because just like Standard Oil, they deal with one product: retail.


That's the best I think I can explain it...
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#21
3870x2
by: FordGT90Concept
Yeah, like Intel has a right to entirely revoke the x86 license from AMD but if they did, the government would come down on them with lots of anti-competition lawsuits that would beat Intel to a very smooth pulp.
Agreed. I believe that Intel would love to have AMD out and have a monopoly on the market, but it's not legally possible, and also, within their previous agreements, AMD has certain rights with intel's x86 property, and intel is starting not to like that.
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#22
imperialreign
so, wait . . . are Intel and AMD going into duscussions of their own free will? Meaning - no law suits or otherwise?

Actually, if such is the case, I'd say that would be great for both sides - neither is accusing the other of violations worthy enough to go to court for, but instead want to focus on possibly looking at how things are being handled . . . meaning we could see some changes for both, that would benefit both, and lead to a healthier CPU market.
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#23
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
That's the way I understand it (a meeting to discuss the standing of the licenses). Intel's lawyers are going to present what they see as problems and try to settle it out of court. If Intel's lawyers walk away unhappy, I'm certain it will end up in court sooner or later.

I'm sure AMD's lawyers have a few outstanding license issues they'd like to discuss too. The lawsuits aren't happening yet but I think it is inevitable.
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#24
PCpraiser100
I'm getting the feeling that Intel is sueing because they wanna take down AMD for all kinds of things.
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#25
3870x2
by: FordGT90Concept
Read what you said...

"...they were transferred...."

It doesn't matter who is involved, the license is non-transferable. AMD is going to have to bribe Intel in order not to get sued.
I wasnt wrong, I chose incorrect wording. Those companies are AMD, nothing was actually transferred. Rather, the technology still lies with AMD an no one else. The foundry company is not going to produce for anyone else, so nothing has changed.

Perhaps INTEL knows something that the rest of us don't: AM3 is going to rock the world:rockout::rockout:
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