AMD shrugs off Intel cross-licensing threat

Intel has yet to act on threat to pull out of cross-licensing agreement involving an AMD joint venture, which AMD's Asia-Pacific head insists poses no issue.
Written by Vivian Yeo, Contributor

SINGAPORE--Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) is "not concerned" over rival Intel's threat to pull out of a cross-licensing agreement between the two chipmakers, says an AMD Asia-Pacific executive, even as the Intel-issued deadline for supposed action looms.

According to Intel, GlobalFoundaries, AMD's manufacturing spinoff and a joint venture with the Abu Dhabi government, is not a subsidiary of AMD and cannot be accorded the same rights under the cross-licensing pact. Intel said it would terminate all rights and licenses under the agreement if AMD does not correct the "alleged breach" by the given deadline, which expires tomorrow.

Gearing for greater growth

AMD is "cautiously optimistic about improved growth" in the second half of 2009, said Benjamin Williams, AMD's corporate vice president and Asia-Pacific general manager.
"We see the second half of the year as an opportunity for recovery," he said, noting that it was not a "hockey-stick" type of improvement. Whether that scenario can be realized, however, depends on its second-quarter performance.
Currently based in the United States, the 44-year-old will relocate next month to Singapore, now the headquarters for the Asia-Pacific region including Japan.
The region presents a "great growth opportunity", said Williams, and AMD is eyeing a greater share of growth with "probably one of the best roadmaps and lineups that we've had for quite a while".

In an interview Friday with ZDNet Asia, Benjamin Williams, AMD's corporate vice president and Asia-Pacific general manager, dismissed Intel's actions as a media blitz and said the issue has since "died down".

"It's one of those areas that we weren't concerned with, [and] we obviously would not have done and structured the deal the way we had, thinking there was some challenge with the licensing and structure," he noted. "You're not hearing anything about [the issue] now; we're not concerned with it."

Adding that "the license goes both ways", Williams said the agreement also impacts, among others, Intel's Nehalem architecture and integrated memory controller. "What [Intel] neglected to [say] is that it's a cross-license agreement, not a one-way agreement."

AMD previously said Intel's claims were an attempt to distract the public from its antitrust battle with the European Commission (EC). The EC ruled on Thursday that Intel engaged in anticompetitive practices and fined the chipmaker 1.06 billion euros (US$1.4 billion). Market observers, however, said the antitrust ruling is unlikely to dramatically alter the balance between the two companies.

Intel was unable to respond at press time.

Editorial standards