Late last year, AMD finalized plans to spin off their manufacturing operations with help from investment from Abu Dhabi. The spinoff was then called The Foundry Company as a working title, which has now been changed to Global Foundries.
One issue that came up, courtesy of Intel spokesperson Chuck Mulloy, was that the new company might not have the right to produce x86 chips under the existing cross-license with Intel.
We examined this in some detail at the time, and decided Intel was just rattling its saber. For one thing, it’s generally believed that Intel doesn’t want AMD gone, since it would make them a monopoly. We also looked at the license agreement and spinoff plans.
Much of the license is confidential, and I’m not a lawyer, but it seemed that there was nothing Intel could really act on. We reached the conclusion, along with other observers, that AMD’s lawyers obviously didn’t come up with the spinoff without accounting for licensing issues.
But it appears that Intel disagrees, having officially informed AMD that they are materially breaching the agreement. If mediation efforts fail over 60 days, Intel can pull the plug on AMD’s side of the cross license, without affecting their own access to the technologies they get from AMD in the agreement.