Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 13th Nov 2012 22:24 UTC
AMD "Advanced Micro Devices has hired JPMorgan Chase & Co to explore options, which could include a potential sale, as the chipmaker struggles to find a role in an industry increasingly focused on mobile and away from traditional PCs, according to three sources familiar with the situation." Woah. Bad news for competition in the x86 space.
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RE[3]: Thom
by galvanash on Wed 14th Nov 2012 03:07 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Thom"
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i don't think they could even find a buyer
nobody in their right mind would go headon with intel, and intel can't buy them thanks to some anti-competitive laws

The real question is whether anyone can buy them (practically)... From information disclosed after their 2001 lawsuit settlement with Intel, their x86 license is non-transferable. They in fact had their license agreement amended (after their 2009 lawsuit) just to make Global Foundries legitimate, since originally they were restricted to manufacturing x86 chips themselves (i.e. they could not use a 3rd party).

There is alot of history between the two companies when it comes to x86 licensing, going back all the way to the eighties... Suffice to say that, as things stand now, a buyer of AMD would not be able to manufacture x86 compatible chips without negotiating their own license with Intel, at least not anything beyond the 486 instruction set.

That said, imo, the only buyer than makes any sense at all is someone who already has a current x86 license. Which unfortunately, afaik, is no one. Really, the only current, full, non-expiring x86 licensee of Intel is AMD, everyone else is limited to manufacture only licenses or has a limited/partial license.

VIA, for example, negotiated a 10 year license in 2003, so their license expires next year. They may be able to re-negotiate it, but I don't see how they could scrape together the money to afford AMD anyway. Outside of VIA? There isn't anyone I know of left... IBM may still have a license, but I doubt it covers some of the newer stuff in the ISA. Nvidia? Nope.

AMD's only bankable assets are skilled worker and a GPU business - their CPU line will likely die with them. Ironically, the only way that AMD could sell their x86 IP to someone else is if Intel brokered and blessed the deal...

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