Intel And AMD Fight Over Patent Rights

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News Posted: Mon, Mar 16 2009 2:27 PM

Oh, brother. Hot on the heels of some mildly good news from Advanced Micro Devices comes yet another downer. Just to give you a bit of background before we dive in, AMD just recently closed a deal that spun off its manufacturing into a newly formed company that was eventually coined GlobalFoundries, Inc. Being the logical thinkers that they are, the suits at AMD simply assumed that any licensing agreements it had with Intel would be automatically passed over and made valid with its new spin-off. And that's where it went wrong.

Intel has just taken the cat fighting up a notch (or two, one could argue) by openly stating that existing licensing agreements that cover Intel's x86 architecture do not spread over to the new chip company. Obviously, AMD feels that its spin-off should be considered an AMD subsidiary and have the exact same rights to the disputed Intel technology as AMD proper. It's said that Intel has disagreed on that concept for months now, and while it was initially willing to have discussions on the matter, it seems that Intel is now coming out swinging in an attempt to get one of two things to happen: garner additional funds that will extend the agreements to GlobalFoundries or get GlobalFoundries to stop tapping into the technology. Mind you, those are just our guesses, but that's usually what these kind of quibbles are about.

In a statement emailed out to the press, AMD said: "Intel's action is an attempt to distract the world from the global antitrust scrutiny it faces. Should this matter proceed to litigation, we will prove not only that Intel is wrong, but also that Intel fabricated this claim to interfere with our commercial relationships and thus has violated the cross-license." In other words: "Bring it."

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3vi1 replied on Mon, Mar 16 2009 2:45 PM

Intel's Legal Department panics,

"Cutbacks are coming, everywhere on Earth!"

"We could take some Zanax...

Nah! sue everyone to prove our worth."

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?


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3vi1 replied on Mon, Mar 16 2009 5:39 PM

I have some additional, more serious, thoughts about this: It's highly possible that Intel is slowly slitting their own throat. The reason? Microsoft .Net and the ECMA CLR standard.

What .Net (and any other platform based on the CLR implementation) does is add a couple of layers of abstraction between the hardware and the programming language. When you write code in a CLR compatible language, it's only semi-compiled down to an intermediate language. That code, in turn is compiled to machine code on the specific platform. You can use it today to run the same .exe on 32-bit Windows and on 64-bit Linux.

So... the processor's becoming irrelevant. With the right CLR implementation, you can run .Net code on any processor, whether it supports the x86 instruction set or not. What happens when device drivers start using .Net?

Look 8 years into the future... Microsoft's moved the entirety of Windows to ride .Net. Maybe Microsoft's convinced everyone to use DirectX.Net or maybe OpenGL-for-CLR is easily portable via Mono to other platforms. The average PC speed has increased to the point that game developers rather take advantage of the portability (to widely varying game console platforms) and rapid development than fight for largely unnoticeable optimizations.

This is where "Windows for ARM", "Windows for SPARC", "Windows for PA-RISC", start getting sold... first as server solutions, to try to take back marketshare from the *nixes... Then as super low cost home solutions by companies that realize they can do bulk deals with the CPU manufacturers for less than with Intel.

Suddenly, Intel sheds a lot of weight, has to cut costs to compete on performance, and slowly bleeds as they try suing the other companies for patent violations of CPU architecture.

Wow... that was much more boring than the alternate reality portrayed in The Watchmen.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?


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wil2200 replied on Tue, Mar 17 2009 12:32 AM

screw intel, i have never owned one and don't intend to buy one either

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ice91785 replied on Tue, Mar 17 2009 1:07 AM

Ultimately I am sure its something that will eventually get lost in the courts...I don't see anything substantial happening other than some settlement that obviously will set AMD back a little more.......

As 3vi1 stated x86 isn't going to be around forever....maybe AMD should kinda roll with the punch here and take it as a "we should diversify our standards a bit" I know its reaching for the stars but hey, why not?

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Intel wants to fight I guess (and get beaten pretty badly) while losing miserably. Have you guys seen any of the ongoing lawsuits between the two?

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Drago replied on Tue, Mar 17 2009 9:33 AM

x86 is crap and Intel just doesnt know it. Sure take x86 away from AMD, then see that oh noes AMD pulls Intel's 64bit license leaving Intel stuck in the 32bit era only. Im sure Intel has done something to warrant yanking their 64bit license, or they could just make stuff up like Intel is doing. This bullying Intel is doing is doing no one any favors save the lawyers making a killing off of these two companies. AMD spent a long time before they did their split to ensure that the cross license agreement was intact and if anything Intel is just doing this to keep the spotlight off of them getting hammered about anti competitive tactics being used in the global market.

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