AMD’s ability to shoot itself in the foot is endless

Column Despite the fact that Intel paid AMD $1.25 billion at the end of last year to settle all that nasty, nasty antitrust stuff, it just won’t keep going away.

TG Daily reported yesterday that Intel had filed responses to investigations by the Federal Trade Commission and the State of New York – there really were some remarkable admissions in there by ex-AMDer Henri Richard and ex-chairman Hector Ruiz.

Richard, who we know has a taste in lovely ties and lovely cars, is quoted in the FTC Intel response as not thinking very much at all about the processors AMD was manufacturing at the time.  Ruiz suggested that AMD hadn’t got its mobile act together.

But let’s face it, most, probably every company goes through self-critical phases – SWAT the jargoneers call it. Perhaps Richard was just reflecting back what he’d heard from his customers and perhaps, at the elevated levels people like him and Ruiz occupy, they’re out of touch with what is possible at the engineering level.

Intel set the gold standard for notebooks quite some time ago with the Pentium M and the tech developed in Israel.

The documents Intel published, we understand, were obtained as part of a discovery process. My god, what bliss it would be to be a fly on the wall. But no, that’s like a Kafka story isn’t it? And being a fly can’t be much fun – you’d have trouble understanding what marchitecture is, and when the guys started talking about 32 nanometer technology you’d just fall off the wall and drop dead. Flies have big eyes but tiny brains.

And let us never forget that Intel has very deep pockets indeed. It always has had. Semiconductors and the internet are just not, not going to go away. Microsoft operating systems might, but not in my lifetime I’d guess.

AMD and Intel are not locked in a deadly embrace, like some database nightmare. They are key suppliers to people who make gizmos. It’s good to have other players in the marketplace like ARM, like Broadcom, and like Via. But the two companies were always going to settle their legal differences. They always have in the past, and, lest we forget, AMD, like Intel, both sprang from Fairchild. It’s symbiosis, it’s that ghastly word co-opetition and they both need each other far more than any other vendor or customer needs them.