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Intel Seeks to Block Shipment of Clone Chips by Rival AMD

October 12, 1994|From Bloomberg Business News

SAN JOSE — Intel Corp. said it will ask a judge to block rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc. from shipping clones of 486 microprocessors containing an obscure software code.

Intel, the world's largest maker of microprocessors, or chips, also plans to seek compensation from AMD for the millions of AMD 486 chips already sold, said Jim Jarrett, a spokesman for Santa Clara-based Intel.

The announcements follow U.S. District Judge Patricia Trumbull's ruling that AMD, the fifth-largest maker of computer chips, violated copyright laws by including a proprietary Intel code in the chips.

The 486 is currently the most popular type of microprocessor, controlling the logic functions in about 30 million personal computers in use.

AMD has sold more than 4 million of the chips, but claims only about 100,000 of them are affected by the ruling. Those chips will be altered or destroyed with no material effect on company earnings, said Jerry Sanders, AMD's chairman and chief executive.

"Our main concern is being sure that we can continue our product supply to our customer base, and we're confident we can do that," said Sanders, who claimed Intel wants to shut AMD out of the lucrative 486 market.

AMD shares closed down 62.5 cents at $24.625 on the New York Stock Exchange. Intel, which traded on the Nasdaq, closed up 6.25 cents at $60.50.

The ruling, the latest in a decade of legal battles between the one-time allies, came in a lawsuit filed four years ago over so-called in-circuit emulation, or ICE, code that is contained in software embedded on the chip.

The code is used typically by chip designers, but was used by AMD to help manage power in about 100,000 chips. Sanders noted most computer users don't even know the code is there, and couldn't access it if they did know about it.

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