In both Japan and the United States, AMD has filed antitrust suits against their arch rival. Look out, Intel. If AMD has its way, the Pentiumís days are numbered, and your de facto market dominance may not sustain itself much longer. Especially if the outcomes in Japan are any indication.
At the end of June, Advanced Micro Divisions filed charges against all global branches of Intel for anticompetitive behavior. Probably in an attempt to gain as much publicity and momentum as possible from this, AMD has run full-page advertisements in a number of newspapers denouncing Intelís business practices. The ad is titled, ďIntel Antitrust Suit: Why AMD Filed,Ē and they chose papers nationwide: one in Austin Texas where both companies have processor fabrication plants, one in Silicon Valley where both companies have their offices, two newspapers in Washington DC, and several for a general audience, like The New York Times.
AMD has even gone so far as to set up an entire webpage for the purpose of explaining the lawsuit. It has a brief description of their charges against Intel, quotes showcasing AMDís innovations, and a link to view a 48 page PDF of the Complaint they submitted.
The Complaint is surprisingly readable and nearly entirely free of legalese. It seems like they wrote it to be easily understood and digested by anyone curious enough to open it. Iíll get into some highlights in a minute. Iíll also get into how the case has proceeded in Japan, and how Intel has already accepted some of the charges of misconduct.
First, it may help to quickly outline the bloodthirsty history between the two companies. In the dark ages of computers, IBM was designing a computing platform that would later be known as x86. In the early 80s, IBM chose Intelís processors for the new platform under the requirement that there is a second source provider to supply the chips as well. Enter AMD. Leaving their own platform development behind, AMD joined Intel, and both agreed to share patents and intellectual property to mass produce x86 technology.
Needless to say, x86 was popularized and Intel was established as a leader in PC hardware. Intel no longer needed AMD, so the deal was effectively over. Intel tried to share as little technology as possible by the end, sending AMD indecypherapble garbage. AMD kept developing the shared technology to produce their own version of the 386 computer, which Intel promptly sued them for (and lost). A court finally ruled that AMD could use the x86 instruction set that it helped to establish, but it had to make its own architecture to support it.
By 1995, AMD released the first of their processors, a K5; it lagged behind comparable Pentiums of the time. Although not of much note then, AMDís creation evolved into the K7, or Athlon, class processor. The Athlon started turning heads, as it outperformed Intelís best offerings, and for a lower price. Since then, the disparity between AMDís and Intelís technology has only grown.
Even while competition is somewhat technologically superior, Intel has managed to keep their domination of the PC market. Wonder how? Well, AMD believes they have the answer.
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