Santa Clara (CA) – Intel has asked for a meeting with Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) to discuss how AMD’s new manufacturing spin-off may affect cross-licensing agreements in place between the two chip-making rivals. AMD and Intel have agreements in place which allow the other access to any advancements made in x86 technology, including AMD’s developed AMD64 64-bit extension (also known as x86-64).
In the early 1990s, Intel and Hewlett Packard began working on Merced – the codename for the first Itanium, a 64-bit Explicitly Parallel Instruction Computer (EPIC) processor. The internal design for Itanium differed significantly from x86 and would not have been covered under the license agreement between Intel and AMD – meaning had it been commercially successful and adapted to consumer markets, AMD would not have been able to build a competing product without paying significant royalties. It was for that reason AMD was essentially forced to develop a 64-bit ISA extension to x86 technology, which is what all of us use today on modern processors – ever since the Athlon 64 (whenever we use the 64-bit versions of popular operating systems, we are using a version of AMD’s proposed extension).
Had Intel been successful in getting Itanium to work early on (and making it inexpensive enough to migrate into consumer spaces), we might have a very different landscape in computer CPUs today.
See Computer World.