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AMD, Intel settle antitrust, IP disputes

Marc Ferranti | Nov. 13, 2009
Under terms of the deal, Intel will pay AMD US$1.25 billion

NEW YORK, 12 NOVEMBER 2009 - Intel and Advanced Micro Devices Thursday announced that they have settled all antitrust litigation and patent cross-license disputes between the companies.

Under terms of the deal, Intel will pay AMD US$1.25 billion, and has agreed to a set of business practice provisions, according to a statement from the companies.

AMD and Intel also said they have agreed to a new five-year cross-license agreement, and have given up claims of breach of contract from the previous license agreement.

"While the relationship between the two companies has been difficult in the past, this agreement ends the legal disputes and enables the companies to focus all of our efforts on product innovation and development," the companies said in a statement.

The settlement is a "transparent and public agreement to create a level playing field in the x86 processor industry," AMD CEO Dirk Meyer said during a conference call.

On its part, AMD has agreed to drop all regulatory complaints worldwide and all pending legal disputes, including a case in U.S. District Court in Delaware and two cases in Japan. The agreement will be made public in filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the companies said.

"I think both companies have realized that it's better to put this behind them and instead focus on developing the x86 market," said Nathaniel Martinez, program director in IDC's European System Infrastructure Solutions Group.

AMD needs all the money it can get a hold of, according to Martinez. Intel also needs AMD to keep competition agencies off its back, he said.

The settlement should also set a new tone for the relationship between the companies, which has been "intense and emotional and at times acrimonious for many years," said Thomas McCoy, AMD's executive vice president of legal, corporate and public affairs. The agreement will see the companies attempt to work out any future disputes privately before they spill into the courts or public domain, he added.

Meanwhile, on a separate conference call, Intel CEO Paul Otellini portrayed the settlement as one of expedience, and said the company was not admitting any wrongdoing.

"We have not wavered in our convictions that Intel has operated in the boundaries of the law," he said. "While it pains me to write a check at any time, in this case I think it made a practical settlement and a good compromise between the two companies. In many ways, it was a small multiple of the damages that could have been awarded [by a jury]," he said.

Intel still has legal battles to fight, however. On Nov. 4, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo filed a federal antitrust lawsuit against Intel, charging that the chip giant conducted a "systematic campaign" of illegal conduct to protect a monopoly.


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