- Jul 3, 2005
I think that's something that many parties in the industry have been waiting for; an open x86 landscape would one of the few options for guarantee of long term competition in the client computing industry. One alternative is eventually for the government to regulate the production and pricing of x86 products, as in the the way that AT&T and the Fed worked from 1956 til 1984.The x86 part was exactly what my line of thinking was too when I read the FTC's and Intel's statement as well.
This is exactly where I see this headed, either forcing Intel to make its x86 license more readily available and license-able or bust them up.
The other alternative would be as you said, to bust up Intel into components, and possibly the majority of general purpose microarch design and manufacturing remaining in a single entity; while vertically integrated business like chipset, graphics, software, flash mem, communications, etc could be parsed into other players in the industry like NV, IBM, Broadcom. It's also possible that one of the design facilities would go to AMD. This is a very far fetched scenario, and would only occur when all else has failed. But this did happen once in relatively recent US history, so it is not completely out of the realm of possiblities.
Yes, I see that if Intel is ever broken up in that manner, the most likely division to be parceled to NV would be the chipset division; this would guarantee for some time that the new Intel would not again have control over its own its own platform, hence no more pricing tactics that would be deemed improper.In terms of busting them up there are some sizable entities that could become stand alone businesses: graphics division, x86, Itanium (no reason to keep with x86 business entity), intel capital, compiler division, chipset division.
Forcing whoever ends up with the fabs to continue to fab products for the fabless business entities would not be an issue either, precedence exists back when DEC went under and Compaq bought DEC, the DOJ required both Intel and Samsung to fab the Alpha processor for a few years after the deal was complete.