Play nice, kids. Mud-slinging doesn't make anybody look good.
But mud is exactly what Intel
AMD, of course, denies any wrongdoing and maintains that Intel now has breached that contract. The mere action of telling AMD that it's doing something wrong seems to trigger a clause to that effect. "Should this matter proceed to litigation, we will prove that Intel fabricated this claim to interfere with our commercial relationships and thus has violated the cross-license," said AMD spokesman Michael Silverman in an emailed statement. "We will continue to respect Intel's intellectual property rights, just as we expect them to respect ours."
Parts of the contract are confidential. The censored snippets in the publicly available document tend to be the good stuff that we really wanted to know. That makes it very hard for us outsiders to figure out who's right and who's wrong here, so I won't even try. Let the mediation team figure it out and decide who owes who an apology, a backrub, and some money.
Either way, you need to understand that this licensing agreement is a very big deal for both of the squabbling parties. Whenever I bring up the possibility of a cash-laden biggie like IBM
On the flipside, the contract is both retroactive and forward-looking, but again, it's tough to pin down exactly what is and isn't covered. AMD's Athlon 64 set some standards for 64-bit processors that Intel had to follow, under the very same license exchange. Once Microsoft
Intel has given AMD 60 days to resolve the issue or lose the license. The whole agreement was set to expire in 2011 anyway, so maybe it's about time to sit down and negotiate a new version for the next decade. Both sides have incentives to settle the dispute, otherwise the legal eagles are standing by in case the negotiators fail.
Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares in AMD, but he holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. You can check out Anders' holdings or a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.