IT APPEARS THAT CROSS-LICENSE BREACHES are all the rage lately, with Intel playing über trendsetter, whilst AMD and Nvidia race to keep pace by filing a volley of their own countersuits.
Nvidia, in a move which AMD would probably call 'soooo-last-week', is the latest example, announcing it has now strutted its stuff down to the Court of Chancery, in Delaware to file masses of paperwork against Intel for breach of contract. Fabulous darlings, fabulous.
the filing, comes just weeks after Intel filed its suit against Nvidia, claiming it was fed up of the Green Goblin's claims that a four year chipset cross license between the two extended to CPUs with integrated memory controllers and processors using the new Quick Path Interface. "Shut up, it so does not", Intel bitched in its filing, eliciting this most recent "pffft... oh yes it does, girl-friend!" from Nvidia.
Nvidia's very own Queen of hearts, CEO Jen-Hsun Huang, pouted and said, "Nvidia did not initiate this legal dispute," but added the firm had to defend itself and the rights it had negotiated for, "when we provided Intel access to our valuable patents."
Jensen reckoned Intel's catty actions were meant to block his firm from using license rights Chipzilla had originally agreed to, the equivalent of throwing a high-heeled stiletto in Nvidia's works.
Not content with just refuting Intel's statement that Nvidia doesn't have a bus license for processors using an integrated memory controller [er, 'whateva!'], the firm is also counterclaiming that Intel "manufactured this licensing dispute as part of a calculated strategy to eliminate Nvidia as a competitive threat." (Mirror, mirror on the wall).
Nvidia, dabbing its eyes so as not to smudge its mascara, continues that Chipzilla is trying to stop it from making chipsets for Nehalem-based processors without an integrated memory controller, too.
Lowering its voice to a scandalised whisper, NV goes on to say it has heard gossip that Intel is also "planning other means to prevent Nvidia from enjoying its license to make chipsets for [Arrandale and Clarkdale] CPU products", including integration of the GPU onto the same substrate as the CPU, just to "make it difficult, if not impossible, for Nvidia to connect its MCP chipset to the CPU."
Intel, claims NV with a dismissive flick of its manicured hand, is so jealous of its brilliant green-ness that it's doing its utmost to renege on the cross-license and disadvantage Nvidia in the marketplace, using such dirty tricks as "improperly encrypting its buses, or degrading the performance of the buses."
"Whether it be by public repudiation of the license, or bad faith gaming of the technology, Intel is plainly preventing Nvidia from enjoying licensing rights that it bargained for while, at the same time, making full use of its cross license to Nvidia's patent portfolio", Jensen whined.
But if Intel thinks Nvidia doesn't have any tricks of its own up its frilly sleeve, Chipzilla has another thing coming, apparently. Nvidia may resort to blocking Intel chipsets from supporting SLI and revoke its peer-to-peer writing technology from its side of the deal.
Watching the two chip divas slog it out, although entertaining, is also a little depressing, considering it's punters who will eventually pay the price in inferior products.
But it would appear that both firms are just too wrapped up in themselves and their own ginormous, selfish egos to care about us fashion victims all the way down here.
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