AMD Reports Fourth Quarter and Annual Results

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SlowSpyder

Lifer
Jan 12, 2005
17,305
1,001
126
Originally posted by: nyker96
anyone care to make a donation to the much beleaguered AMD?

I don't know about a donation, but with the recent price drops I'd like to get a PhII 940 pretty soon.
 

PingSpike

Lifer
Feb 25, 2004
21,736
565
126
Originally posted by: Meph3961
Originally posted by: SlowSpyder
If AMD goes under, the game would get very interesting if Samsung or IBM gobbled up what's left of AMD. Intel isn't afraid of AMD, but if Samsung or IBM bought AMD, then I think you'd see Intel a bit more worried.

The problem with IBM or Samsung (or really anyone buying AMD) is that most of the cross-licensing agreements between AMD and Intel do not allow for the transfer of ownership of either company. This means that IBM or Samsung would lose access to all of Intel's IP that AMD currently uses in it's chips. And I seriously doubt that Intel would be that eager to sign new deals with a large competitor like IBM of Samsung.

I don't understand...did Cirix have different cross licensing terms with intel? Via still seems to make x86 chips...occasionally anyway. :p
 

Martimus

Diamond Member
Apr 24, 2007
4,488
153
106
Originally posted by: PingSpike
I don't understand...did Cirix have different cross licensing terms with intel? Via still seems to make x86 chips...occasionally anyway. :p

Yes. This is because Cyrix didn't originally license the x86 design, they reverse engineered it. They settled with Intel to allow them to continue to design and produce the CPU's in any foundry that produced Intel CPU's (Such as AMD, TI, IBM, and SGS Thomson.) They later ended up with a full cross licensing agreement with Intel, like AMD has; but they did not have the same 50% clause in the license agreement. (Most likely because they had a much stronger case than AMD did, and were likely to win the court battle.)

Cyrix Wiki
 

Idontcare

Elite Member
Oct 10, 1999
21,118
59
91
Originally posted by: Martimus
Originally posted by: PingSpike
I don't understand...did Cirix have different cross licensing terms with intel? Via still seems to make x86 chips...occasionally anyway. :p

Yes. This is because Cyrix didn't originally license the x86 design, they reverse engineered it. They settled with Intel to allow them to continue to design and produce the CPU's in any foundry that produced Intel CPU's (Such as AMD, TI, IBM, and SGS Thomson.) They later ended up with a full cross licensing agreement with Intel, like AMD has; but they did not have the same 50% clause in the license agreement. (Most likely because they had a much stronger case than AMD did, and were likely to win the court battle.)

Cyrix Wiki

Ah, so now the solution is clear. Nvidia needs to convince Via to spin-off the cyrix/idt/centaur division and it's transferable x86 IP/license and simultaneously purchase AMD.

Then we'd get to spend the next 3 yrs buying the same Phenom II X4 940 but it will be relabeled and re-released every 6 months under a new brand name :p
 

v8envy

Platinum Member
Sep 7, 2002
2,720
0
0
Originally posted by: Idontcare

Then we'd get to spend the next 3 yrs buying the same Phenom II X4 940 but it will be relabeled and re-released every 6 months under a new brand name :p

But before that happens they'd have to hold the undisputed performance crown for a year or so. No danger of that.




 

Viditor

Diamond Member
Oct 25, 1999
3,290
0
0
Originally posted by: sonoran

The other elephant in the room that Viditor is overlooking - TFC cannot produce AMD's chips for free. To remain a viable company, TFC will have to charge a price sufficient to remain in the black. Until TFC gets additional customers (spreading the cost of technology development and FAB construction and maintenance), that price is going to be higher than AMD would have paid by having the chips produced in-house.

I didn't really overlook it, I just used different words...
"Of course the down side is that their capacity for profit will be diminished as well..."
In hindsight, that probably was too vague a statement.
However, let me correct a point you made. TFC does not have to operate in the black from day one, in fact very few companies are in the black for the first few years...
 

Viditor

Diamond Member
Oct 25, 1999
3,290
0
0
Originally posted by: Martimus
Originally posted by: PingSpike
I don't understand...did Cirix have different cross licensing terms with intel? Via still seems to make x86 chips...occasionally anyway. :p

Yes. This is because Cyrix didn't originally license the x86 design, they reverse engineered it. They settled with Intel to allow them to continue to design and produce the CPU's in any foundry that produced Intel CPU's (Such as AMD, TI, IBM, and SGS Thomson.) They later ended up with a full cross licensing agreement with Intel, like AMD has; but they did not have the same 50% clause in the license agreement. (Most likely because they had a much stronger case than AMD did, and were likely to win the court battle.)

Cyrix Wiki

The real reason that Intel settled was because Cyrix owned the patents on much of the IP that went into the Pentium Pro, and were going to be counter-suing. The end result was a cross-license agreement...
 

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
56,475
10,137
126
When do the basic x86 patents expire anyways? Aren't patents only good for 17 years?
I realize that newer, more advanced CPUs like the Core2Duo, also have more recent patents filed on them, but at least in terms of producing strictly compatible CPUs to the x86 and AMD64 architecture, it should be possible soon, no?
 

Idontcare

Elite Member
Oct 10, 1999
21,118
59
91
Originally posted by: VirtualLarry
When do the basic x86 patents expire anyways? Aren't patents only good for 17 years?
I realize that newer, more advanced CPUs like the Core2Duo, also have more recent patents filed on them, but at least in terms of producing strictly compatible CPUs to the x86 and AMD64 architecture, it should be possible soon, no?

If they wanted to produce chips compatible with the limited instruction set used in 286's then those patents are expired.

It's all the extra instructions that keep getting added every year (SSE'2, MMX's, 64bit extensions, etc) that are still under patent protection.
 

DrMrLordX

Lifer
Apr 27, 2000
21,842
11,199
136
Actually, the 486 should be fair game by now. It was released in 1989. The Pentium (non-MMX) came out in 1993 so it's probably got a few years left, though when relevant patents were filed on it is anyone's guess.

Basically any patent related to x86 architecture from 1991 and earlier should be public domain by now.
 

Meph3961

Junior Member
Oct 14, 2007
22
0
0
Originally posted by: Viditor
A good point...
However, I'm of the opinion that the leverage AMD has over Intel (because of the huge amount of IP involved) will keep Intel very amenable if a renegotiation is required.
Remember that Intel uses as much AMD IP as AMD uses of Intel...
If AMD went out of business, it would cost Intel an absolute FORTUNE! The reason is that they would need to spend cash for their licensing instead of just using a cross-license agreement.

I am not so sure about this. There is no doubt that Intel uses a ton of IP from AMD, x86-64 being one example. But from what I understand of the cross-license agreements, and I could be wrong, if AMD were to go under and be bought out by anyone or any of the IP was bought by a third party, Intel would still have full access to it, while the new owner of AMD or their IP would not have access to Intel's IP covered in the agreements.

This is what puts AMD in such a terrible position. Without that clause in the cross-license agreement someone like IBM would probably snap them up in a minute. But without access to Intel's IP the only parts of AMD worth buying would be their graphics division and chipset division.

Originally posted by: VirtualLarry
What if the DOJ forced them?

As Virge said, I am not sure the DOJ has the authority to for Intel to sign new agreements with other companies. The one way the government might be able to pull this off is to do what IBM did back in the early 80's. Require a second source of processors for all government contracts. This would force Intel to sign a deal with someone else. Although I am not sure that this is a plausibe scenario.
 

Viditor

Diamond Member
Oct 25, 1999
3,290
0
0
Originally posted by: Meph3961
Originally posted by: Viditor
A good point...
However, I'm of the opinion that the leverage AMD has over Intel (because of the huge amount of IP involved) will keep Intel very amenable if a renegotiation is required.
Remember that Intel uses as much AMD IP as AMD uses of Intel...
If AMD went out of business, it would cost Intel an absolute FORTUNE! The reason is that they would need to spend cash for their licensing instead of just using a cross-license agreement.

I am not so sure about this. There is no doubt that Intel uses a ton of IP from AMD, x86-64 being one example. But from what I understand of the cross-license agreements, and I could be wrong, if AMD were to go under and be bought out by anyone or any of the IP was bought by a third party, Intel would still have full access to it, while the new owner of AMD or their IP would not have access to Intel's IP covered in the agreements.

That's just not the case, and in fact you couldn't even write a contract that way.
IP is a tangible asset of a company, so anyone buying the company would own that IP.
While they may be bound by AMD's contractual commitments, they could not be forced to give up those assets for zero consideration. In other words, contract law would not permit what you describe because the purchasing company MUST be paid for those IP licenses in some manner.
If Intel were to enforce clause 6.2 (b)(7) of the contract (which they would be entitled to do under your hypothetical), then the contract is nullified and no longer continues.
Cross License agreement
Many people confuse this with the penalty section in 6.2 (a), but that section describes the resolution of a material breach not a lawful termination of the contract.



 

Meph3961

Junior Member
Oct 14, 2007
22
0
0
Originally posted by: Viditor
Originally posted by: Meph3961
Originally posted by: Viditor
A good point...
However, I'm of the opinion that the leverage AMD has over Intel (because of the huge amount of IP involved) will keep Intel very amenable if a renegotiation is required.
Remember that Intel uses as much AMD IP as AMD uses of Intel...
If AMD went out of business, it would cost Intel an absolute FORTUNE! The reason is that they would need to spend cash for their licensing instead of just using a cross-license agreement.

I am not so sure about this. There is no doubt that Intel uses a ton of IP from AMD, x86-64 being one example. But from what I understand of the cross-license agreements, and I could be wrong, if AMD were to go under and be bought out by anyone or any of the IP was bought by a third party, Intel would still have full access to it, while the new owner of AMD or their IP would not have access to Intel's IP covered in the agreements.

That's just not the case, and in fact you couldn't even write a contract that way.
IP is a tangible asset of a company, so anyone buying the company would own that IP.
While they may be bound by AMD's contractual commitments, they could not be forced to give up those assets for zero consideration. In other words, contract law would not permit what you describe because the purchasing company MUST be paid for those IP licenses in some manner.
If Intel were to enforce clause 6.2 (b)(7) of the contract (which they would be entitled to do under your hypothetical), then the contract is nullified and no longer continues.
Cross License agreement
Many people confuse this with the penalty section in 6.2 (a), but that section describes the resolution of a material breach not a lawful termination of the contract.

After looking at the contract, you are right. I was confusing 6.2 (a) and assuming it applied to 6.2 (b) (7).