Saturday, March 21, 2009

Rebounding IC ASPs and Intel-AMD dispute! Two contrasting sides of semicon!!

Friends, I'd like to draw your attention to two completely contrasting sides of the the global semiconductor industry!

First, there was a significant piece of information last week, where IC Insights highlighted that the IC ASP prices were across several product segments. In fact, IC Insights further goes on to say that while it is unsure whether IC ASPs had reached their low points, IC Insights firmly believes that the IC ASPs will rebound throughout 2009 and well into 2010.

I am reminded of another IC Insights study of late December 2008 where it advised adopting a quarterly outlook! It also forecast a significant rebound in the IC market beginning in the third quarter of the year! Is it already upon us? Too early to say.

Consider this: are these two projections bringing some good tidings for the global semiconductor industry? Perhaps, yes!

Now, a change of scene! Time -- early this week!

Intel notified Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) that it believes AMD has breached a 2001 patent cross-license agreement with Intel. According to its release, Intel believes that Global Foundries is not a subsidiary under terms of the agreement and is therefore not licensed under the 2001 patent cross-license agreement. Intel also said the structure of the deal between AMD and ATIC breaches a confidential portion of that agreement.

Intel has asked AMD to make the relevant portion of the agreement public, but so far AMD has declined to do so. AMD's breach could result in the loss of licenses and rights granted to AMD by Intel under the agreement.

Knowing my soft corner for semiconductors, I received a mail carrying AMD's comment on Intel's claim. And, it was a counter claim of sorts!

According to Ramkumar Subramanian, VP Sales & Marketing India, AMD: "Intel's action is an attempt to distract the world from the global anti-trust scrutiny it faces. 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."

I really don't know what's happening! Who's right and who's wrong? All I understand is that this Intel vs. AMD dispute is simply NOT good news for the global industry.

Both Intel and AMD are companies admired globally. I've interacted with executives from both companies, and they are all really exceptionally talented people.

It is important for Intel and AMD to not get drawn into controversies of this stature, especially at a time when the industry is going through a rough patch. I have asked this question of both companies and expect their replies sometime next week, hopefully. And I wish they don't send me standard replies.

Both of you are sticking to you lines and stands! Can you please take your gloves off and clear this up folks? The industry does not need such things right now!

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