It's all over, including the shouting. The feuding families of Silicon Valley, known to the rest of the world as chip makers Intel and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), have settled a major suit, announced today. The two companies are known throughout the tech community for their contentious, litigious relationship. The AMD vs Intel battle dates back to at least the 1980's, but who exactly wore the white or black hat, of course, depends on who you ask. Or who you work for.
In a joint press statement, the companies put a hopeful face on the future: "While the relationship between the two companies as 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."
Also according to the release, the settlement allows both AMD and Intel to attain patent rights stemming from a 5 year cross-licensing agreement and both will dismiss any claims under the previous agreement. Additionally, Intel will shell out $1.25 billion to AMD and perhaps, more importantly, agree to abide by a set of business practice provisions. In turn, AMD will drop all pending litigation in both the U.S. and Japan and all of its regulatory complaints worldwide.
Intel still faces a barrel full of legal challenges both here and abroad. The Washington Post reports New York AG Andrew Cuomo filed an antitrust suit in the U.S. District Court of Delaware on November 4th, claiming Intel engaged in a "systematic campaign of illegal conduct" to restrict competition and disadvantage consumers. Intel also faces a potential complaint from the FTC and is appealing the fine by the European Commission for about 1.44 billion in U.S. dollars.
In practical terms, it will be the consumer, for a change that stands to benefit. Many feel if it weren't for the presence of AMD fighting to stay alive over the past few decades, the price of CPU's (Computer Processing Units) in personal computers, mainly provided by Intel and AMD, would surely be much higher. With luck in the future, AMD might just be able to focus less time on it's legal struggles and more time contending with it's traditional rival as well as evolving competitors in the lab and market place.
Last question: just wondering what the legal team at AMD will be doing for now?