Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 12th Jun 2017 20:31 UTC, submitted by dionicio

You'd expect with Microsoft adding x86 emulation to its upcoming ARM-based windows 10 PCs all the possible licensing issues would be sorted. As ubiquitous as x86 is, it's easy to forget it's still a patent minefield guarded by Intel. And surprise, surprise, with the chipmaker under pressure from AMD and ARM, it felt the need to make that very, very clear. Dangling at the end of a celebratory PR blog post about 40 years of x86, Intel writes:

However, there have been reports that some companies may try to emulate Intel's proprietary x86 ISA without Intel's authorization. Emulation is not a new technology, and Transmeta was notably the last company to claim to have produced a compatible x86 processor using emulation ("code morphing") techniques. Intel enforced patents relating to SIMD instruction set enhancements against Transmeta's x86 implementation even though it used emulation. In any event, Transmeta was not commercially successful, and it exited the microprocessor business 10 years ago.

Only time will tell if new attempts to emulate Intel's x86 ISA will meet a different fate. Intel welcomes lawful competition, and we are confident that Intel's microprocessors, which have been specifically optimized to implement Intel's x86 ISA for almost four decades, will deliver amazing experiences, consistency across applications, and a full breadth of consumer offerings, full manageability and IT integration for the enterprise. However, we do not welcome unlawful infringement of our patents, and we fully expect other companies to continue to respect Intel's intellectual property rights. Strong intellectual property protections make it possible for Intel to continue to invest the enormous resources required to advance Intel's dynamic x86 ISA, and Intel will maintain its vigilance to protect its innovations and investments.

I'm assuming Microsoft has all this stuff licensed nice and proper, but it's interesting that Intel felt the need to emphasize this as strongly as they do here. Which companies is Intel referring to here? Maybe Apple?

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by Windows Sucks on Mon 12th Jun 2017 21:51 UTC
Windows Sucks
Member since:

Not sure why it would apply to Apple as Apple moved to Intel and can move off just as easy. They don't need to emulate X86 to do it.

Only company talking about this is Qualcomm on ARM. They better watch out! Lol.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Apple
by bassbeast on Tue 13th Jun 2017 00:13 in reply to "Apple"
bassbeast Member since:

Because there has been serious talk of Apple using their own CPUs exclusively and using some sort of emulation to allow the X86 code to run for a limited time, similar to the fat binaries they had when they switched from PPC to X86.

You have to remember Cook was originally was in procurement, he knows how a single weakness in your supply chain can bone a company and the mess with Qualcomm I'm sure has driven that point home.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Apple
by Richie97 on Tue 13th Jun 2017 04:29 in reply to "RE: Apple"
Richie97 Member since:

This came up a lot in 2011. And at the time many speculated on an x86 to arm version of Rosetta. Which seems to be what the speculation is here.

But apple abstracts the API much further these days. In fact Apple polices it's API much more aggressively that Microsoft. And according to many speculators, Apple has seen this coming for a long time. So it would not surprise me if any transition required minimal code alteration to compile for ARM. As most of the chip instruction set is abstracted away from the end user.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Apple
by The123king on Tue 13th Jun 2017 08:48 in reply to "RE: Apple"
The123king Member since:

IMHO i think Apple should build a dual-architecture machine. By using a small ARM chip to handle the operating system overheads (such as memory management, drawing the UI etc) you'd be able to unload a lot of work from the Intel CPU, freeing it up for high performance workloads, such as video rendering and audio production. That way, you'll be able to max out the Intel core whilst keeping the OS slick and responsive. Of course, smaller low-performance apps, such as a browser, text editors etc could be compiled to run directly on the ARM core too, allowing the Intel cpu to be switched off if it's not in use by a high-performance app

Reply Parent Score: 2