So AMD is suing Intel. First, I'd suggest reading through the 48-page complaint filed by AMD. Given that Vinney is in law school, I've seen a few of these things, but this one is surprisingly legible even for us non-legal types :)

I've known about this sort of stuff for quite some time, in fact, I'd say that out of the 48 pages AMD's legal team put together there's a lot missing. AMD told me that they aren't putting all cards on the table, but here are a couple of other things that I've seen personally:

I can't even begin to count the number of times where motherboard manufacturers have told me that they could not:

1) Send an AMD motherboard for review
2) Promote an AMD motherboard
3) Let us take pictures of an AMD motherboard

Out of fear of Intel retaliation. Remember the original Athlon days when no motherboard manufacturer would dare make a board for the K7? All of the frightened manufacturers were afraid of them losing their Intel chipset allocation if they supported the K7.

The same sort of stuff happened during the i820 days. Intel's first RDRAM based chipset was a complete flop, yet they offered no real SDRAM alternative. VIA did however, and Intel punished those manufacturers who didn't promote their i820 platforms or who too eagerly embraced VIA's solutions.

The list goes on and on.

What's my take on it? I'm all for competition based on technology and technological merit. Whenever Intel was faster we'd recommend them, and whenever AMD was faster, we'd do the same for them. Luckily, you all get it: AMD's market share among our readership is around 50% because you all generally purchase based on technology, performance and a lot of you are building your own systems, so these issues don't directly affect you. Obviously the rest of the market doesn't work that way, and I'd be glad to see that change; it benefits the end user and that's all I care about.

Right now AMD builds the best desktop CPUs, Intel offers the best value on dual core desktop CPUs and Intel has the best mobile chips. It would be nice if the entire market purchased based on those purely technological comparisons.

What will come of AMD's lawsuit? AMD told me that they are in this for the long haul and they aren't expecting to even go to trial in the next 18 months. I'm not sure what the end result will be, but I do know that things aren't entirely balanced today; and I am a fan of anything that drives innovation and produces better overall products for the end users.

One thing is for sure: I would hate for just AMD or Intel to exist, we need both and we need balance. If this lawsuit results in more balance and better competition based on technology rather than marketing ability, then more power to AMD.

Your thoughts?


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  • viditor - Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - link

    I personally think that Intel will settle this quickly (like they did in Japan).
    If AMD could get Intel to completely cancel their rebate program as a settlement, my bet is that both would go for it.
    AMD has a probable clear win in this case, but with all legal cases you just never know! If Intel cancelled their rebate program in the next few months, AMD has the right lineup of product to take advantage of it and they could probably gain more than they would if it went to trial.
    Contrarily, Intel is already having a number of PR problems to contend with...and with the prospect of a multi-billion dollar loss at the end of the road, they might see settling as a blessing right now.

    We shall see!!
  • Houdani - Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - link

    I'm thinking this will be a huge uphill battle for AMD unless there exists some form of a signed agreement between Intel and Company_X that specifically includes text which shows there was a conspiracy to exclude AMD. Strongarm deals (alleged, to be fair) like this are only discussed in person with nothing put into writing, so the burden of proof is immense.

    In the absence of such incriminating documents, who's to say that Company_X didn't simply choose to keep their inventory lean by limiting the number of SKUs which they would need to stock? Yeah, that's a flaky explanation, but so is a case built upon potentially non-existent hard evidence and uncooperative witnesses (the Company_X's).

    If I had my druthers, the end judgement would favor AMD -- but I'm not going to hold my breath.
  • Naughtygeek - Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - link

    A couple of points. First, I believe that AMD has let this slide for so long because they didn't have capital to expend on a lawsuit or the manufacturing ability to fill much more demand than what their market share has been. I think they are fixing to ramp up production and can fill a greater demand than currently exists. Second, I don't see this helping us "white box" manufacturers at all. We still have to compete with companys that buy their hardware in lots > 1000 pieces and Microsoft nearly giving their OS to Dell and the others. This may bring prices down on systems you purchase from big companies like HP or Dell, but we won't see any significant price breaks because of this. Now, with all that said, I am glad to see AMD feels they are now in the position to take on the 800 lb. gorilla and give them a fight. I hope it pays off for them and doesn't end up draining recources they could be using to further innovate. MY $.02. Reply
  • Chad - Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - link

    I think it's ridiculous that it has come to this. I'm still having nightmares about Linux/SCO. I agree that Intel has been less than competive. Exclusivity seems to be a standard business practice in our industry. I myself have been all AMD except for a notebook. I just wish system builders would wake up and market their AMD systems as more than just an "alternative". In this day of political correctness everything from religious extremism to homosexuality is an "alternative". AMD does not deserve to be marketed this way! Dell and AMD both have thousands of employees in TX. There's no way they haven't talked before. Something artificial has to be in the way of an AMD Dell system... Reply
  • Dave Graham - Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - link

    it was filed in Delaware, #6. I would love for my primary distributor, Synnex, to stock AMD cpus also, but alas, they're an intel-only haus. Reply
  • Anonymous - Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - link

    but why bring this lawsuit now?
    amd is gaining ground right now, they're advancing;
    why bring up the past? (i know i know, amd thinks intel is still being a 'bully'...)

    on another note, this lawsuit was filed in california - the state where NOBODY gets convicted!!!
  • OzzFan - Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - link

    I'm glad you don't sound overtly Pro-AMD. I can't stand it when someone is such a fanatic that they can't even be reasoned with on the most basic logical levels. Competition IS sorely needed in all markets, which is what free enterprise is SUPPOSED to be all about (but we all know corruption stinks in every facet of life).

    I hope there is a more level playing field for all players. I, personally, prefer Intel processors (if only because they created the first popular microprocessor and I'm a bit of a loyalist (read: not fanboy crazy)), but I wish they'd get off their dead behinds and make something better than AMD. I know they can do it, they have the technical savvy. Maybe this lawsuit and pending decision will give them the kick in the butt they need and force them to be fair.
  • Ionoxx - Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - link

    It would be great if AMD won this lawsuit. It would among other things balance out the availability of AMD processors in the big distributors.

    More importantly than that, the small white box system builders would be more competitive because the price of Intel processors, for big distributors, would go up because of the lack of kickbacks to companies like Dell.
  • Anonymous - Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - link

    About a year ago, I actually wanted to just go out and purchase a desktop for my wife. I have been an AMD fan for many years (outside of an Intel Pentium M, my last 5? computers have been AMD). The ONLY option I could find was a 754 pin Compaq (I hadn't looked at buying a prebuilt system in years). When I saw what was out there, I went back to the tried and true "build it your own". It is no wonder AMD's share is sooo small. Reply
  • son - Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - link

    well said anand...i do agreee, it would be nice to see jim bob go to best buy and truely get his hands on an extreme gaming system... Reply

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