Intel, AMD Announce Dual Core Litigation Settlement
Wow. Intel and AMD’s seemingly endless legal battles have finally ended. The two companies said early Thursday that they have reached a comprehensive agreement that resolves their many antitrust and patent disputes.
Under terms of the agreement, Intel (INTC) will pay AMD (AMD) $1.25 billion (nearly a quarter of AMD’s $4.46 billion market cap) and agree to “abide by a set of business practice provisions” presumably crafted to temper Intel’s allegedly anticompetitive practices. Here are details of the agreement:
Business Practices Provisions Prohibit Intel From:
- Offering inducements to customers in exchange for their agreement to buy all of their microprocessor needs from Intel, whether on a geographic, market segment, or any other basis (Section 2.1.1.a)
- Offering inducements to customers in exchange for their agreement to limit or delay their purchase of microprocessors from AMD, whether on a geographic, market segment, or any other basis (Section 2.1.1.b)
- Offering inducements to customers in exchange for their agreement to limit their engagement with AMD or their promotion or distribution of products containing AMD microprocessors, whether on a geographic, channel, market segment, or any other basis (Section 2.1.2a-b)
- Offering inducements to customers in exchange for their agreement to abstain from or delay their participation in AMD product launches, announcements, advertising, or other promotional activities (Section 2.1.2.b)
- Offering inducements to customers or others to delay or forebear in the development or release of computer systems or platforms containing AMD microprocessors, whether on a geographic, market segment, or any other basis (Section 2.2.2 and 2.1.2)
- Offering inducements to retailers or distributors to limit or delay their purchase or distribution of computer systems or platforms containing AMD microprocessors, whether on a geographic, market segment, or any other basis (Section 2.2.1)
- Withholding any benefit or threatening retaliation against anyone for their refusal to enter into a prohibited arrangement such as the ones listed above.
In return, AMD will drop all its pending litigation against the company and pull out of regulatory complaints worldwide. Finally, the two rivals will enter into a five-year patent cross-licensing agreement.
In a joint statement, the companies said, “While the relationship between the two companies has been difficult in the past, this agreement ends the legal disputes and enables the companies to focus all of our efforts on product innovation and development.”
Interesting. Clearly, AMD CEO Dirk Meyer’s earlier comments about the ratification of its complaints about Intel’s business practices and the company’s hope for a future in which AMD’s “ability to succeed as a business is really determined by the quality of our products and customer relationships” was quite prefigurative.
During a call to discuss the settlement, Meyer said the accord marks the beginning of a new era, one that changes the game for AMD. “It is an important milestone for us, for our customers, our partners, and most importantly–for consumers and businesses worldwide,” Meyer said.
“It is the culmination years of litigation and regulatory engagement, and we are optimistic that it will usher a new era for our industry,” the CEO continued, further noting that change may not be immediate. “We recognize that it will take time for people to understand how the operating conditions in processor business have changed–but make no mistake–they have changed….We look forward to healthy competition with the mutual respect one would expect between world-class competitors.”
It is unclear if the settlement will affect the antitrust suit brought against Intel by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo last week as Cuomo hasn’t yet commented. But the European Union says it will not change its decision in May to fine Intel a record $1.5 billion for anticompetitive behavior.
“The European Commission takes note that Intel and AMD have settled all their litigation and that Intel is paying AMD compensation of one-and-quarter billion dollars,” said an EC spokesman. “But Intel has an ongoing obligation to comply with the commission’s antitrust decision and with EU competition law. The commission continues to vigorously monitor Intel’s compliance with its obligations under the EU antitrust decision.”