AMD lawyer cites critical 'incidents' in Intel rivalry

The top lawyer at AMD talks to CNET about critical moments when the rivalry with Intel got particularly nasty.

Brooke Crothers Former CNET contributor
Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.
Brooke Crothers
2 min read

The Intel-Advanced Micro Devices rivalry spans decades. But in a phone interview last week, the top lawyer at AMD discussed critical moments when the competition with Intel got particularly nasty.

Tom McCoy, AMD's senior vice president of legal affairs, cited two critical junctures in the Intel-AMD rivalry when Intel turned up the heat and, he claims, violated the law.

AMD senior vice president of legal affairs Tom McCoy
Tom McCoy AMD

McCoy said the first major assault from Intel came in 1999, when AMD launched the Athlon architecture. "When we go back and we look at all the anecdotal incidents of Intel violating the law, they always center on when we're coming to market with our new-generation technologies," he claimed. "They did it when we came to market in 1999 with the Athlon."

It happened again in 2003, McCoy alleged. "And they did it big time when we came to market in 2003 with the Opteron processor for the server and the Athlon 64 processor," he said. "We had the integrated memory controller, the HyperTransport, we were focused on energy efficiency," McCoy said, referring to two key AMD processor technologies.

"And Intel was caught years behind. That's when they really got out of control," McCoy asserted.

In reference to the European Commission decision to fine Intel $1.45 billion he said: "We don't care about the fine. That's simply consumer harm. What's important to us is the injunction. The decision carries with it an immediate injunction. To stop doing things that are illegally foreclosing AMD technology from getting to the market," he said.

Intel had no specific comment. "We do not comment on our commercial relationships," Intel said in response, though a spokesperson offered this general statement: "What is reflected in AMD's claims reinforces what we have been saying all along. The market rewards customers that perform well and acts accordingly when they do not. If Intel technology did not perform well and our product road map was not strong, customers would go elsewhere."