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[2]: Thom
by smashIt on Tue 13th Nov 2012 23:19 UTC in reply to "RE: Thom"
smashIt
Member since:
2005-07-06

If AMD were bought out (especially by Intel)


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

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[3]: Thom
by Morgan on Tue 13th Nov 2012 23:23 in reply to "RE[2]: Thom"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

i don't think they could even find a buyer
nobody in their right mind would go headon with intel,


I was actually thinking someone would want to buy them for the graphics hardware, and transition the CPU side to focus on mobile. That way they aren't directly competing with Intel (yet).

and intel can't buy them thanks to some anti-competitive laws


Stranger things have happened, but you're right, it probably wouldn't be Intel. At least, not without some interesting courtroom antics.

Edited 2012-11-13 23:24 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[4]: Thom
by zima on Wed 14th Nov 2012 00:08 in reply to "RE[3]: Thom"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Nvidia buying AMD for the GFX part, ceasing AMD x86 line? (since the license is non-transferable*, and since Nv is focusing on their Project Denver ARM - where AMD CPU talent should come handy)
Now that would be some behemoth... and maybe even without many formal or legislative roadblocks?


*this x86-licensing thing is weird, though - apparently, Nvidia did sell x86 processors at some point: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_x86_manufacturers#x86-processo...
The license can be market-specific, for example embedded only? ~i386-only?

Edited 2012-11-14 00:11 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: Thom
by Brendan on Wed 14th Nov 2012 00:01 in reply to "RE[2]: Thom"
Brendan Member since:
2005-11-16

Hi,

"If AMD were bought out (especially by Intel)


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
"

Microsoft could buy them, and then start using their CPUs and GPUs in things like Xbox, and then start optimising Windows for their CPUs while optimising their CPUs for Windows. They could ignore any new features Intel creates, and Intel would have to support Microsoft's new features just to maintain market share (while competing against ARM at the same time).

I'm scared.

- Brendan

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[4]: Thom
by shmerl on Wed 14th Nov 2012 01:58 in reply to "RE[3]: Thom"
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

That would be awful.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[4]: Thom
by Neolander on Wed 14th Nov 2012 09:50 in reply to "RE[3]: Thom"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Microsoft could buy them, and then start using their CPUs and GPUs in things like Xbox, and then start optimising Windows for their CPUs while optimising their CPUs for Windows. They could ignore any new features Intel creates, and Intel would have to support Microsoft's new features just to maintain market share (while competing against ARM at the same time).

I'm scared.

- Brendan

Apple have tried many times relying on CPUs from a single manufacturer. It has arguably never worked well on a large scale except with Intel. So why would Microsoft bother?

Their tight control on UEFI sounds much more worrying to me.

Edited 2012-11-14 09:50 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Thom
by mkools on Wed 14th Nov 2012 00:35 in reply to "RE[2]: Thom"
mkools Member since:
2005-10-11

What about Samsung? They have more money and power than Intel has. That sure would be interesting.

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[4]: Thom
by twitterfire on Thu 15th Nov 2012 11:30 in reply to "RE[3]: Thom"
twitterfire Member since:
2008-09-11

And they are innovative, competitive and they have fabs. Samsung would give Intel some beating.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Thom
by Soulbender on Wed 14th Nov 2012 01:40 in reply to "RE[2]: Thom"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

nobody in their right mind would go headon with intel


Well, lets hope someone will continue doing just that so Intel won't have a practical monopoly.

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[4]: Thom
by Neolander on Wed 14th Nov 2012 09:52 in reply to "RE[3]: Thom"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Well, lets hope someone will continue doing just that so Intel won't have a practical monopoly.

Don't Intel already have a practical monopoly on x86 processors, ever since they have released the Core 2 line and AMD have found no good answer?

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Thom
by galvanash on Wed 14th Nov 2012 03:07 in reply to "RE[2]: Thom"
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

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).

http://download.intel.com/pressroom/legal/AMD_settlement_agreement....

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...

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: Thom
by r_a_trip on Wed 14th Nov 2012 09:33 in reply to "RE[3]: Thom"
r_a_trip Member since:
2005-07-06

Unless someone does a reverse triangular merger, whereby the purchaser creates a shell subsidiary that purchases AMD and then merges the subsidiary into AMD. In this construction AMD becomes a wholly owned subsidiary, but it survives as a business entity and all non-transferable assets endure.

If the Intel - AMD licensing agreements don't have specific verbiage about this scenario, someone could buy AMD and keep the x86 licenses intact.

It's the same trick Attachmate used to acquire Novell and keep Novell intact.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[3]: Thom
by Flatland_Spider on Wed 14th Nov 2012 16:14 in reply to "RE[2]: Thom"
Flatland_Spider Member since:
2006-09-01

Samsung would like to take Intel on. They are already hinting at that direction with the new Chromebook sporting an Exynos 5 processor.

Samsung actually has the resources and fabs to compete head to head with Intel, so they could be a very dangerous competitor.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[4]: Thom
by 1c3d0g on Thu 15th Nov 2012 21:24 in reply to "RE[3]: Thom"
1c3d0g Member since:
2005-07-06

ARM != x86(-64). Don't compare apples to oranges. ;)

Besides, the x86 war is pretty much over, and Intel is the clear winner, so it doesn't matter if AMD survives or not. The next war will be fought over who has the superior instruction set, the ARM conglomerates (Samsung, NVIDIA, Apple, Qualcomm, Broadcom etc. etc.) or Intel with its x86-64.

Reply Parent Score: 2