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AMD shrugs off Intel cross-licensing threat

An executive at the chipmaker dismisses Intel's recent words as a media blitz and says that the issue has since "died down."

Advanced Micro Devices is "not concerned" over rival Intel's threat to pull out of a patent cross-licensing agreement between the two chipmakers, says an AMD Asia-Pacific executive, even as the Intel-issued deadline for supposed action looms.

According to Intel, GlobalFoundaries, AMD's manufacturing spinoff and a joint venture with the Abu Dhabi government, is not a subsidiary of AMD and cannot be accorded the same rights under the cross-licensing pact. Intel said it would terminate all rights and licenses under the agreement if AMD does not correct the "alleged breach" by the given deadline, which expires Saturday.

In an interview Friday with ZDNet Asia, Benjamin Williams, AMD's corporate vice president and Asia-Pacific general manager, dismissed Intel's actions as a media blitz and said the issue has since "died down."

"It's one of those areas that we weren't concerned with, (and) we obviously would not have done and structured the deal the way we had, thinking there was some challenge with the licensing and structure," he noted. "You're not hearing anything about (the issue) now; we're not concerned with it."

Adding that "the license goes both ways," Williams said the agreement also impacts, among others, Intel's Nehalem architecture and integrated memory controller. "What (Intel) neglected to (say) is that it's a cross-license agreement, not a one-way agreement."

AMD previously said Intel's claims were an attempt to distract the public from its antitrust battle with the European Commission. The EC this week ruled that Intel engaged in anticompetitive practices and fined the chipmaker 1.06 billion euros ($1.45 billion). Market observers, however, said the antitrust ruling is unlikely to dramatically alter the balance between the two companies.

Intel was unable to respond at press time.

Vivian Yeo of ZDNet Asia reported from Singapore.