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Four years ago: Intel-AMD settle

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Both companies are claiming to be winners following the settlement between Intel and AMD, and both have a right to do so. But the biggest winner was AMD, despite the fact that it will end up paying Intel more than Intel is paying it. AMD, you see, is still alive, and has a coherent business plan. Intel's aim throughout the long-running feud wasn't actually to put AMD out of business, that was just a side-effect of its true objective of keeping a lock on x86 technology, but with shells going off all around it, AMD's objective was clearly to not go out of business. The settlement gives AMD the rights to 386 and 486 technologies that would have been useful a couple of years ago, and leaves the companies to head off in their own chosen directions, Intel with the Pentium, P6 and VLIW, and AMD with the K5. Cloning per se may be about to become a dead issue. The fact that AMD stayed alive long enough to develop the business plan is however the thing that's most important for the company. Five years ago, AMD's business plan went something like, "we can sell faster CPUs cheaper than Intle does, and although we know there's Intel code in them, we own it really." This was a pretty hand to mouth way to run a company, and success was determined by whatever the most recent lawsuit result was.It did however have the advantage of allowing AMD to stay in business while it thought of soemthing smarter, and while the K5 could be categorised as that something, The Register thinks the ongoing deals with Fujitsu are smarter still. Intel has historically been keen to diversify from the x86 line, but has historically had patchy success. The company still sees flash memory as a good strategic diversification, but hasn't really given it the focus, hasn't really convinced people that this is one of the places the company will be long term. Its desperate need to own things all by itself might also have something to do with it. So while Intel might have philosophical problems in harnessing the might of a company like Fujitsu, AMD doesn't, and the latter two's flash joint ventures give AMD the opportunity to develop in an area where its muscle could potentially become greater than Intel's. And clearly the company now has a saleable case, as the week before the Intel settlement it convinced a consortium of eight banks to give it a $150 million for development. ® From The Register No. 11

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