AMD faces legal action over ‘zealous’ Wi-Fi promotion

Sites alleged to have been branded without permission

AMD has come under fire for its over-zealous attempt to create a company-branded network of Wi-Fi hotspots that may see the chip maker getting into legal hot water.

AMD's network will comprises a large number of sites offering free wireless Internet access. While the project is expected to be officially launched during Q2, the company already lists several hundred hotspots, each of which features AMD Hotspot branding.

However, not all the sites are happy about the move, it seems. According to a report at web site Wi-Fi Networking News, some businesses listed in the directory claim to have never heard from AMD. Others said they had turned AMD down but were still listed and received the collateral.

Wi-Fi Networking News' Glenn Fleischmann spoke to Austin Wireless City Project leader Richard MacKinnon, who claims to have had a casual meeting with an AMD representative late last year at which ideas about how community efforts such as the AWCP could be helped. Nothing more was heard from AMD until Project-supported locations began to receive calls and materials from AMD, and signs started appearing in shops.

AWCP provides each business that host a hotspot with a volunteer to maintain and support the infrastructure. One volunteer objected to the placing of an AMD sign in the window of one of the hotspots he maintains, and removed it with the permission of the site owner. The owner was then told by AMD to put the sign back "or we'll pull you out of the directory," McKinnon claims.

Other Wi-Fi providers and consultants in Austin confirmed similar stories, Wi-Fi Networking News notes.

One, Zane McCarthy, the owner of Austin Unleashed, a wireless consulting and broadband operator, even alleged that in three sites AMD stickers appeared without the owner's knowledge. McCarthy is considering legal action against AMD, he said.

AMD said it had as yet received no legal challenge.

Many sites contacted by Wi-Fi Networking News expressed their satisfaction with AMD's scheme and the company's approach.

Essentially, the programme as a co-marketing deal. The free-access location makes sure the AMD logo is prominently displayed. In return, AMD will promote the location on its directory. ®

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