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Intel and AMD Settle Antitrust, Patent Lawsuits 165

Posted by Soulskill
from the mr.-otellini-tear-down-that-wall dept.
Kohenkatz writes "Intel has agreed to pay $1.25 billion to AMD. In return, AMD will drop its lawsuits about patent and antitrust complaints. The two companies released this joint statement: 'While the relationship between the two companies has been difficult in the past, this agreement ends the legal disputes and enables the companies to focus all of our efforts on product innovation and development.' The press release also says, 'Under terms of the agreement, AMD and Intel obtain patent rights from a new 5-year cross license agreement,' and that 'Intel and AMD will give up any claims of breach from the previous license agreement.'"
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Intel and AMD Settle Antitrust, Patent Lawsuits

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  • by mantis2009 (1557343) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @11:05AM (#30072758)
    Seriously, this number seems low to me. The pending suits against Intel alleged that for a decade Intel conspired to freeze AMD out of the market. Intel poisoned nearly all of AMD's potential customers. Surely that cost AMD a lot more than just a billion or so dollars in lost revenue.
    • by Paeva (1176857) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @11:08AM (#30072808) Homepage

      I imagine that AMD has quite a bit to gain from the cross-licensing provision. In fact, they both do. I wouldn't be surprised if they're both worried about competition from mutual rivals such as ARM. This could be a big win for both in that regard.

      • by Interoperable (1651953) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @11:25AM (#30073078)

        Possibly; however, if it ever came down to an all-out litigious patent war, AMD may well have come out on top thanks to holding the rights to the x86-64 instruction set. It's not clear that AMD gets any real benefit other than getting to put the whole dispute behind them. I suspect that the real advantage that AMD gets out of this is the admission from Intel that they were engaging in illegal business practices. Intel has agreed to stop blocking AMD from OEM sales and will probably honor it considering that they've just admitted to bad behavior.

        It looks to me like AMD thinks that they can compete based on their products despite the disadvantage that Intel has put them in through illegal means. I just hope that it means we get to see some chips from AMD that once again provide a much better performance/cost ratio than the Intel chips.

        • by TheNinjaroach (878876) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @11:49AM (#30073450)

          I just hope that it means we get to see some chips from AMD that once again provide a much better performance/cost ratio than the Intel chips.

          AMD processors are still beating Intel in the performance/cost ratio. They have been falling behind Intel on performance benchmarks alone, but the cost is cheap enough to make AMD a clear winner when comparing performance and cost.

          I'm looking forward to the time where they once again provide better performance than Intel while also toting a cheaper price tag.

          • by PitaBred (632671) <slashdotNO@SPAMpitabred.dyndns.org> on Thursday November 12, 2009 @01:17PM (#30074770) Homepage
            And even then... since when is most desktop performance limited by the CPU any more? I bought a quad-core Phenom II for under $200 a couple months back. I have yet to feel limited by CPU speed. I mean... I have been transcoding my DVD's to insanely high quality H.264 at over 40FPS. If I transcode to an iPod format with handbrake, it'll hit over 300FPS. Why would I need to pay over double for a higher-performing i7, especially since the i7 will require new RAM and a motherboard, whereas the Phenom didn't?
            • by MikeURL (890801)
              The processor hasn't been the bottleneck for standard computing for a very long time. The bottleneck is that spinning mechanical disk that PC makers use to store all the data the computer needs to access/store. Personally I think it won't be long before Intel's SSD sales rival, or even eclipse, its processor sales.

              There is literally a mountain of demand pend up for SSDs. The tipping point where price/reliability/speed all line up is going to release a flood that will wipe HDDs off the map.
              • by Khyber (864651)

                "The processor hasn't been the bottleneck for standard computing for a very long time. "

                this isn't exactly true. ATi makes an AGP GPU that will totally bottleneck some of the higher end non extreme edition P4 processors at resolutions higher than 1280x1024.

          • by timeOday (582209)
            I recently re-shopped mid-range CPUs and went Intel, due mainly to power consumption. I chose a 65 watt Core 2 Duo E7600 Wolfdale 3 GHz. Given a limit of 65 watts and $150, did I miss out on something better from AMD?
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          AMD stock is up 23.3% today... Roughly the cash settlement amount... Markets seem to think its fair...
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Enderandrew (866215)

          When AMD first started releasing x86-64 processors, they were beating Intel in price and performance. I think that is why Intel started to resort to the tactics that they did.

          AMD can't beat Intel on top performance these days because they keep falling behind on new fabrication processes. However, price out a comparable low to medium end AMD system with an Intel system, and you'll find that not only is the processor cheaper, but so is the motherboard.

          AMD can still claim advantages at certain price points. N

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by PitaBred (632671)
            That's too bad about your experiences. I've gotten at least 6 CPU's from AMD (original x2's though to my current Phenom II quad-core), as well only buying ATI graphics cards recently. Haven't had a single problem, even with open-box items. Maybe it was the motherboards you were using? Every problem I've ever had with AMD stuff has always come down to a bad motherboard.
            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by SBrach (1073190)

              Haven't had a single problem, even with open-box items.

              Every problem I've ever had with AMD stuff has always come down to a bad motherboard.

          • We've had good luck with the batch of Athlon64 X2s that we bought for desktops here at the office over the past 5-6 years. (Whenever it was that the X2s dropped below $200 for the first time.)

            The main hardware failures I've had to deal with are:

            - DOA power supply units in Antec cases (only 1 out of roughly 20)

            - Busted capacitors on a GeForce PCIe low-end card

            Most of our desktops use the 40/45W parts (energy efficient) models if we can get them. Keeps it cooler inside the case and makes it easier t
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Hal_Porter (817932)

          Possibly; however, if it ever came down to an all-out litigious patent war, AMD may well have come out on top thanks to holding the rights to the x86-64 instruction set.

          Actually no. Intel sued AMD for patent infringement and the case was settled back in 1995. The end result of that was patent cross licensing but the agreement was asymmetric. AMD have to pay Intel a license fee for all the Intel patents they use but Intel does not have to pay AMD.

          http://news.zdnet.co.uk/hardware/0,1000000091,39146227,00.htm [zdnet.co.uk]

          Because of the details of a lengthy 1995 legal settlement between Intel and AMD, Intel can in all probability create and sell chips that are completely compatible with AMD's Opteron and Athlon 64 chips, which can run both 32- and 64-bit software, according to the companies and legal experts. Intel won't even have to pay AMD royalties if it incorporates ideas from any AMD patents into its chips.

          "My understanding, based on the licensing agreement, is that Intel has access to AMD's patents so patent protection should not be a problem," said Richard Belgard, a noted patent consultant.

          Intel may have to rename some of the instructions, or commands, embedded in any chip that is similar to Opteron, but "the code can be 100 percent compatible," Belgard added.

          Though Intel spokesman Chuck Mulloy declined to comment on whether or not Intel is working on a 32/64 bit chip, he concurred with Belgard.

          "There are no legal barriers" that would prevent Intel from coming out with a chip that is similar and compatible with Opteron, he said. "There are no pitfalls either way."

          An AMD representative stated: "I believe that is the case," but added that it would all depend on the circumstances.

          Here's the key point

          Under the terms of the settlement, both companies gained free access to each other's patents in a cross-licensing agreement. AMD agreed to pay Intel royalties for making chips based on the x86 architecture, said Mulloy, who worked for AMD when the settlement was drafted. Royalties, he added, only go one way. AMD does get to collect royalties from Intel for any patents Intel might adopt.

          AMD also agreed not to make any clones of Intel chips, but nothing bars Intel from doing a clone of an AMD chip, Mulloy added.

          While the terms may seem one-sided, AMD has benefited from the agreement as well. Without the clean and enforceable right to make x86 chips granted by the agreement, AMD would not have been able to produce the K6, K6 II, K6III, Athlon, Duron, Athlon 64 or Opteron chips without fear of incurring a lawsuit.

          So Intel already have a right to use x86-64 license free.

        • by Silverfish (33092)

          Since the business practices are left "unspecified", Intel is certainly not admitting they were engaged in illegal business practices.

          One has to wonder if this settlement isn't partly spurred on by the apparent chilly reception software patents received at the In re Bilski case the other day. I can't say I know a lot about either Intel or AMD's patent portfolios, but both companies make a substantial amount of software. If a large portion of both sides portfolios wind up being nullified, AMD's antitrust c

      • by jimbolauski (882977) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @11:31AM (#30073170) Journal
        So now instead of Intel screwing AMD, Intel and AMD will be screwing the consumers, it's a win win!
      • ARM is a threat if Apple adopted it, or if Linux took off big-time. However, Windows 7 isn't being ported to ARM, because then all your existing software wouldn't work on it. Every single Windows developer on the planet would need to release ARM ports. For better or worse, we're stuck with x86 for some time to come.

        The only time/way I see this changing is if Windows decided to break backwards compatibility with their previous API and apps, build a new API from the ground up, and at the same time port to a n

        • ARM is a threat if Apple adopted it, or if Linux took off big-time. However, Windows 7 isn't being ported to ARM, because then all your existing software wouldn't work on it.

          The WinCE version of Win7 has probably already been ported to ARM b/c there are way too many ARM based PDA/cells/etc that MS wants to target. In fact, every version of WinCE can run on the ARM processor; and developers can (if they choose) port it to other architectures as they get ALL the Windows source code. Of course, they typicall

          • That isn't exactly the same issue because you're not running Half Life 2 on your phone. You're not expecting to take your desktop apps with you, and mobile apps are ported to ARM processors.

            The issue isn't that Microsoft can't port Windows 7 to ARM (though apparently it took years to port Office to x86_64 for crying out loud), but that they won't, because it will break every piece of Windows software out there.

            Apple did manage to emulate their old processor on top of x86 with Rosetta or whatever it was call

            • My point is they (Microsoft) have already done it. They are just not releasing it for the mainstream version of Windows - Win7, Win2008. It's probably what the next rev of the Xbox will use too - that is, after all, just a port of the WinCE/Windows platform for the PPC architecture.
        • by SEE (7681)

          ARM is a threat if Apple adopted it

          Yeah. The same way the PowerPC would be a threat today if Apple had stuck with it. That is, none at all. Apple isn't important enough a computer company to actually threaten anyone in the computer chip business.

          The only time/way I see this changing is if Windows decided to break backwards compatibility with their previous API and apps, build a new API from the ground up, and at the same time port to a new archit ecture. They bundle in an emulator to run old apps that emulates both the API and hardware.

          Windows does not need to replace the APIs to move to a new architecture. Windows NT was originally designed for the i860, not x86. Commercial releases have run natively on MIPS, Alpha, PowerPC, and Itanium. FX!32 was able to run x86 Windows programs on Alpha Windows back in 1996, as successfull

      • So Intel has allowed AMD to jump on the anti-trust bandwagon? How is that a good thing? Instead of a near-monopoly with an undercut competitor we now have an oligopoly.

        I predict that by this time next year the cost/performance ratio difference between Intel and AMD will vanish, and that the ratio will become more costly.

    • Of course they lost more in revenue than that. But did they lose more in profits? Perhaps. There's also the possibility of access to patents that they did not have before, though this seems to be a pattern wherein around the end of the cross-licensing agreements, AMD sues (or threatens to sue) Intel, leading to some media stories and eventually an agreement, from which AMD seems to get more practical use than does Intel.

    • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdotNO@SPAMhackish.org> on Thursday November 12, 2009 @11:12AM (#30072864)

      Intel poisoned nearly all of AMD's potential customers.

      Yeah, you can bet I bought a Core 2 Duo after what happened to my coffee when I was researching a Phenom II...

    • by poetmatt (793785)

      my thoughts exactly. I'm sure there is more to it than that from what I read of the business practice requirements.

      Also, I suspect this won't stop the antitrust investigation in the US, either.

    • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday November 12, 2009 @11:16AM (#30072924) Homepage Journal

      Q: How did you arrive at this number

      our SGNA expenses will decrease a bit on a go-forward basis

      for us this has never been about money, it's about the marketplace, and there's no correlation between the settlement amount and anything... it's a negotiated number

      what's important... it signals a new era, it's a pivot from war to pease, and we're trying oto redefine not only the path to a fair and fierce competitive fight in the blah blah blah tonality blah blah blah buzzword get this behind us and move forward in a very respectful way, blah blah blah

      You can tell I'm listening to the webcast.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by oldspewey (1303305)
      Hey, it may not seem like a lot but $1.25B means AMD can stop couchsurfing for a while and maybe score some new clothes or something.
    • by brxndxn (461473) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @11:19AM (#30072992)

      As an AMD shareholder and an enthusiast who has followed this 'case' since 1999, I also think this settlement is low. I do not believe $1.25billion could bump AMD to a cash position of where it would have been if Intel had not competed unfairly. Yes, it is a $1.25billion injection of direct profits to AMD - but the cashflow through the company over the years from the marketplace to R and D would have put AMD in a much more competitive position.

      • by rliden (1473185)

        My guess is that they don't really care about the past. They care about now. $1.25Bn is a lot of money coming in especially in the current economic climate. This and the patent deals means that AMD can move forward on relevant technologies now and in the future without worrying over spending money on lawsuits.

        • by hattig (47930) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @12:10PM (#30073702) Journal

          Only recently AMD was clearing some debts for 30 cents on the dollar - i.e., the banks wanted money so bad that they allowed AMD to pay back one third of the amount they were willing to clear. AMD didn't have much spare money though, so they didn't clear much.

          Imagine if AMD has another such offer on the table from their banks - they could clear far far more than the money they got from Intel. Getting the money now could have an overall net benefit greater than letting such a deal expire and getting a bit more from Intel in a couple of years. Never mind the interest payments they'll save paying them off now rather than in the future, even if there is no such deal.

          I think putting everything behind them, getting freedom to manufacture as they like, and having a level playing field with the OEMs (sadly at a time when AMD's offerings aren't the shiniest) is more important to them.

          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            If intel is going to stop playing dirty (heh heh) then AMD's pricing will become much more attractive to OEMs.

      • by shentino (1139071)

        Survival of the fittest, where it's not against the rules to fight dirty.

    • by Moridin42 (219670) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @11:23AM (#30073048)

      Except that this is 1.25 billion dollars that AMD need make no sale to acquire. No materials costs, no QC costs. No manufacturing losses. Why should AMD (or anyone else) be concerned with revenues lost? They're only a way to secure profits. This is much closer to a billion dollars of profits, which is far more valuable than a billion dollars of revenue.

      • by Locutus (9039) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @12:25PM (#30073880)
        good point, I don't know what AMDs profit margins are but if they are 20%, this $1.25B would be worth $6.25B in revenue.

        I thought the 5 year term was a rather short period for this kind of business where it can take that long to bring a new design from drawing board to production. In a way, I hope it doesn't give either Intel nor AMD any fire power against ARM. I'd like to finally see another hardware platform enter the desktop segment first. ie, I'd like to see ARM get a foothold before they really see viable competition. They are doing quite well in the handset segment and are due to enter the netbook segment this fall. Success there will open the door to move up the chain into the laptop segment by this time in 2011 via multi-core systems.

        LoB
      • by MBGMorden (803437)

        Indeed. Not to mention that this is a MUCH needed injection of cash for AMD in a time when they're struggling a bit. Not on the precipice of dieing, but they certainly could use some operating cash to help. $1.25 billion will help there tremendously - and if Intel actually does behave (I'm skeptical, but we'll see) then they may have a chance to actually make a good go of things again.

      • Is it $1.25 billion of pure profit? How much has AMD spent fighting this battle to this point?

        How much more would they have to spend to continue fighting the battle? I would assume the risk/reward factor would say the smart move would be to finish what they started at this point and reap a MUCH LARGER settlement for their troubles. They've no doubt lost many more billions in lost sales over the past decade plus.

        Combine that with the future value of market share, and we're talking about a huge shift.

        The only

        • by Moridin42 (219670)

          Well, if you'd read the comment you were replying to, you'd notice I said it was "closer to" a billion dollars of profit. Which is already allowing for a quarter billion (yeah.. 250 million) of legal fees. So no, not 1.25 billion dollars of pure profit. Perhaps not even an even billion. But since they don't need to consume materials, qc, market, ship, warehouse, or otherwise mess with products or services.. yeah.. its a lot closer to pure profit than anything short of net income. I'm not even contesting tha

    • by kestasjk (933987) *
      The anti-trust suits against Intel were/are mostly going to go to the EU, with appeals and legal wrangling AMD probably decided 1.25bn now would be better than an optimistic 2.5bn in 8 years when they've become the new SGI.
    • I don't pay attention to all of the legal details every time Intel and AMD fight in court, because they fight a lot. This is always what happens: a new cross licensing deal and some money exchanges hands. How much money is right? I don't think anyone knows. Less than the amount that it would take to kill either one of them, but more than enough to save face for the other.
    • by iamhassi (659463)
      "Seriously, this number seems low to me."

      Considering Q3 2008 AMD only had a profit of $80 million [wordpress.com] and AMD lost 3 billion last year [econsultant.com], I'd say they've very happy getting 1.25 billion from Intel.

      Also let's not forget 1.25 billion is 25% of Intel's 2008 profit [econsultant.com] so it's not exactly spare change.

      I'd imagine AMD is throwing a big party right about now.
    • by Chyeld (713439)

      To win a lawsuit, you must be able to last to the end of the lawsuit. Winning a multi-billion dollar lawsuit helps little if you are under Chapter 7 bankrupcy.

      Sometimes, as much as it sucks lemons, it's in your best interests to take the offer for pennies on the dollar rather than duke it out.

      • by shentino (1139071)

        What really sucks is that while being squeezed by bankruptcy you'll be forced by exigent circumstances to get rid of your receivables at fire sale prices to a shark who will later, in due time, likely take down a windfall when the debt becomes due.

    • by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew&gmail,com> on Thursday November 12, 2009 @12:36PM (#30074018) Homepage Journal

      Not to mention Intel has already been found guilty in other countries. I think that Intel had good reason to suspect the same might happen in the US. Intel did get off light.

      I assume AMD took the deal because they have been hemmoraghing money for some time now. They needed a cash influx and couldn't afford to fight a legal battle much longer.

      The sad thing here is that the end lesson is that illegal, anti-competitive practices can be quite beneficial. The US government overlooked them, even when a bevy of vendors testified on AMD's behalf, despite Intel threatening those vendors. Intel profitted not only in the immediate dollar sense, but also in gaining massive market share.

      Yet the US threatened to go after Google if they had a search partnership with Yahoo. That is an evil monopoly that must be quashed (but it would be fine if Microsoft purchased Yahoo, swallowed their services, and removed choice and competition from the marketplace). None of this makes much sense.

  • good thing? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ixidor (996844)
    but we still have to worry about intel bullying manufacturers like dell into using intel only. the dropping the lawsuit, 5 year no fire period is good though...
  • by haruchai (17472) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @11:17AM (#30072948)

    is to get its shit together Fab-wise. They've been leading Intel for nearly 10 years in developing or deploying new tech and architecture
    but Chipzilla has always been able to keep abreast because of their fabrication prowess.

    Now that Intel's Nehalem architecture has all of the elements that AMD has been delivering with the Athlon and its descendants,
    they're back to being the budget brand.

    • Chipzilla has always been able to keep abreast because of their fabrication prowess

      Well that helps, but also due to the anti-competitive tactics that Intel used against AMD.

      • Well that helps, but also due to the anti-competitive tactics that Intel used against AMD.

        Fab capacity more than helps- its main factor in the success of a semiconductor company! AMD was self-admittedly fab constrained for the entire period when they had a performance advantage over Intel. They were selling every chip that they made! The limits on their success during this period had nothing to do with what Intel did or didn't do- AMD did as good as they could have given their anemic manufacturing capabi

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Enderandrew (866215)

      Color me stupid, but why doesn't AMD strike a deal with IBM who does routinely manage to get their fabrication processes put together in a reasonable matter of time.

      The Cell hasn't taken off like mad. IBM lost the Apple processor deal a few years back. I'm assuming IBM could ramp up and assist AMD.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by cheesybagel (670288)
        They did. IBM and AMD shared manufacturing research [youtube.com] together with Chartered, Freescale, Infineon and Samsung. AMD even considered manufacturing processors at Chartered because of this manufacturing process similarity, but in the end they couldn't get enough yield and had issues with licensing x86 from Intel. AMD probably doesn't consider manufacturing chips using IBM's similar East Fishkill factory because their production is already allocated and IBM is notoriously known as an expensive place to outsource
    • Let IBM make CPUs for desktops and notebooks and see how intel likes it. Maybe AMD should get IBM to make the CPUs for them?

    • by evilviper (135110)

      but Chipzilla has always been able to keep abreast because of their fabrication prowess.

      Not really. Back in the P4 days, Intel was kept afloat by dumping chips on the market. Deep pockets keep Intel around...

      Today, Intel has a smaller process, but they don't have the SOI tech that AMD/IBM has for quite some time, so the fab advantage is considerably smaller than it appears.

      Intel surpassed AMD in performance, not because of their fab, but because they managed to push new features, and keep redesigning thei

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      This agreement allows AMD to fully spin off Global Foundries if they come up with enough outside customers. More customers is the key to being able to move forward... it's all about volume. And actually being a separate entity from AMD is critical to getting those customers... it must at least be on the horizon.

      AMD may be the budget brand, but people are broke. I certainly bought my Phenom II 720 MB, CPU, RAM on that basis. I've suggested AMD-based systems to a lot of people over the years on that basis, si

  • The European Commission has set an example by fining Intel 1.45B. No US court was likely to award much more than that. AMD can make much better use of the cash now, rather than a few years down the line. And Intel can do without being continuously accused of cheating. Rest assured that the agreement has included quite a few provisions regarding dirty play in the future, but don't expect those to be made public.
  • I don't understand US law but if intel have done something worthy of an antitrust suit isn't it down to the DOJ to go after them?
    Or was this some sort of civil antitrust suit?

    • I think only the DoJ can open up criminal anti-trust suits, but I believe anyone can do a civil anti-trust suit. I could be mistaken, as I am not a lawyer.
    • by Joce640k (829181)

      Somebody has to complain first.

    • Re:DOJ? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @11:43AM (#30073360)

      I don't understand US law but if intel have done something worthy of an antitrust suit isn't it down to the DOJ to go after them?
      Or was this some sort of civil antitrust suit?

      The answers to your questions are in order: Yes and Yes.
      If the DOJ thinks that Intel has done something worthy of an antitrust suit they can go after them (and the DOJ has been investigating Intel, so they still may). However, a non government entity can also bring an antitrust suit (although they have to demonstrate that they are in some way directly impacted by this behavior).

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Sloppy (14984)

      isn't it down to the DOJ to go after them?

      Not if the Bush/Obama administration tells DoJ [eff.org] not to. Look at the pattern for the last 9 years and there's little reason to expect DoJ getting involved. As far as I can tell, these days the DoJ's main purpose in computers and communication industries seems to be to fight FOIA requests, keep cases out of courts, etc.

    • The DOJ (under any administration) is unlikely to file a criminal complaint for antitrust because the burden of proof is so high (beyond a reasonable doubt). They'd have to have really solid proof.

      The burden of proof in a civil case (such as the case against Microsoft) is rather low (preponderance of evidence). So the DOJ usually goes for the low-hanging fruit.

      That's why I complain when people say MS was "convicted". The DOJ didn't prove their case to that standard.

  • by Lord Byron Eee PC (1579911) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @11:34AM (#30073210)
    This still doesn't resolve a major problem in the chip industry and that is that these two companies have a duopoly on x86 and x86-64 chip designs due to patents. I'm not a patent lawyer, but I really don't see how Intel can possibly patent an instruction set (the implementation thereof, sure, but the instructions themselves?). Until these companies are forced to license to third-parties, we'll still see a real lack of competition.
    • Until these companies are forced to license to third-parties, we'll still see a real lack of competition.

      Forcing them to license out all the relevant x86 patents would open up the playing field, but it wouldn't be totally open. One must still pay for what will almost certainly be expensive licenses. The only way to truly open up this market for competition is just to get rid of all of the x86 patents. Otherwise, Intel and AMD will still have quite a bit of control over who they deem important enough to enter the hallowed x86 market.

    • by Sloppy (14984)

      Yeah, I see it as good and bad. The good: this might help AMD. The bad: it helps no other manufacturers. I would have preferred to see the absurd idea that an instruction set is patentable, get smashed. But I suppose there's no reason for AMD to advocate that, if they can get what they want through other means, since they happen to have the advantage over Intel in this regard.

      C'mon, VIA, speak up.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Sopor42 (1134277)
      Oblig XKCD [xkcd.com] linkage
    • by Trepidity (597)

      I really don't see how Intel can possibly patent an instruction set (the implementation thereof, sure, but the instructions themselves?)

      Technically all the patents are on implementations, but there are thousands of them, mostly covering the obvious ways you would implement any of the features, or any pair of features, or any triple of features, or any pair of features in a particular process, etc., etc. The end effect is that it's basically impossible to implement x86 without stepping on some patents, proba

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Jeng (926980)

      There is a third party. VIA

      http://www.via.com.tw/en/products/processors/ [via.com.tw]

  • ___AMD and Intel have made agreements previously, only to not be happy with the results. In particular, the first time, it looked very much as if as soon as they agreed to cross-license, AMD stopped innovating and depended upon Intel for product development. Intel felt cheated.
    AMD and Intel have also agreed to stop suing each other previously. I wonder how long it will last this time.
    The good news is that for a while some lawyers won't be getting any money.

  • My transcript (Score:3, Informative)

    by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday November 12, 2009 @11:42AM (#30073338) Homepage Journal

    Jumped in a little late, here you go.

    Q: So what does this mean ... in terms of ... ownership

    Um uh, um uh. We have a obviously very important relationship with Abu Dhabi, global foundries is part of the vision of AMD, great thing for industry and us ... we will be implementing the agreements
    the key thing here is that for AMD and for global foundries, this addresses anybody's concerns about robustness and entitlement
    AMD the product company is well-poised to move ahead on its strategy in order to serve the market and be a key buzzword blah blah blah

    the new patent cross-license between AMD and intel does give AMD broad rights
    no longer requires global foundries to be structured as a subsidiary of AMD

    Q: intel has agreed to provide business practice provisions

    think of it in terms of marketplace and customer access
    ability for multinational OEMs and key channel partners to have "freedom of action" and choice to differentiate offerings between AMD and intel
    respect to specific practices and ground rules, the agreement... totally transparent about this, the agreement will be totally public as quickly as we can achieve that
    the key points are for us that intel will not be able to condition doing business with them on not doing business with us, that's one way I would put it. they can't use inducements in order to force exclusive dealing, delay customers from using our products, delaying companies from delaying advertising... withholding benefits from OEMs ... in the compiler business, compilers will not unfairly/artificially impair the performance of our products, we're never looking for any help, just not unfairly... intel has an obligation not to do things simply designed to hurt us
    blah blah lots of repetition of buzzwords like 'ecosystem' and 'productitivity gains'

    Q: global foundries separation timeline

    clearly gives AMD, global foundries, and atek flexibility esp. in light of acquisition of charter, and does pave the way for merger of charter and global foundries, but no announcemnet being made, no timeline

    Q: ?

    We are trying to reset the relationship between AMD and intel. That relationship has been intense, emotional, and at times acrimonious for ... all too many years. The one thing that I would say that is a touchstone principle ... we are going to be fierce competitors in a free and open marketplace, we are going to be mutually respectful, we want to put this behind us... healthy, normal relationship that competitors do. you will see in the agreement fought-out procedures by which we will build relationship and trust and try to resolve our differences without spilling into the courts, into the public affairs domain. this is a start and both parties intend this agreement to be an opportunity to pivot the relationship and go forward in a very classy way.

    Q: Is this only x86? No graphics etc?

    I uh, um, uh, that's a complicated answer but I think the general answer to your question is yes. The suits ... have pertained to x86 processors and platforms,

    there's two parts to the agreement, one is antitrust, the other is patent cross-license, broad, covers "all productS"

    let me put it this way... it is an important feature of our agreement ... that we have resolved ALL disputes. on the IP side, amd and intel have had patent peace with each other since 1976. design freedom to innovate, great contributors to patent portfolio... we have now the flexibility with rights under IP agreement for full use of foundries.

    Q: is the cash being deployed towards reducing debt

    you now understand why we were not more specific in yesterday's meeting on debt restructuring

    Q: What happens to the cases around the world, what is your expectation

    the regulatory investigations etc are conducted by sovereign governments ... so the regulators will do what they are

  • by sys.stdout.write (1551563) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @11:43AM (#30073346)
    "Intel patents lawsuits"
  • by 1s44c (552956)

    That will teach Intel to try and copy Microsoft's business model.

    Screw you Intel! I'm always preferred paying less and getting more and that's why I always buy AMD.

  • If Intel have abused their market position, it's a shame to see them "get away with it". I suppose if they *hadn't* abused their market position then it would seem a shame that they didn't get their day in court. That said, it seems pretty unlikely to me that any substantially sized company won't have been involved in dubious activity somewhere along the line, even assuming that there was no high-level directive to do this.

    In the interests of honesty, I'll note that I have a few reasons for having a pro-I

    • Intel also got a bit soft. Remember the Pentium III 1.13 GHz product "launch" which consisted of like a dozen working processors sent to the press to review? Then they kept delaying and delaying release for like forever because they were buggy and couldn't manufacture them in quantity? Then the Pentium 4 processor, which had higher clock rates but was much slower overall? Remember Intel telling us we would be using 10 GHz processors years ago thanks to their Netburst architecture? Hah. How about claiming M

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Lemming Mark (849014)

        They did get soft indeed, particularly around the Pentium 4 / Itanium era. Actually neither of those seemed to sound obviously bad ideas at the time but they utterly failed to deliver on the promised benefits :-( AIUI the Pentium M processor was actually pretty close to the Pentium III design, which many people seem to have approved of.

        At least the stuff learnt from Pentium 4 (arguably even Itanium) systems hasn't been completely lost, since hyperthreading and EFI (for instance) are both seeing use in oth

  • The Partnerchip? This shit has been going on since at least the early 80's.
  • by ponos (122721) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @03:54PM (#30077754)

    For those who bought AMD early enough, stock price jumped ~20% today. Not bad :-)

    Don't forget that 1.25 billion represents a significant portion of AMD's capitalization and far surpasses the cumulated
    earnings of the last few years.

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