Intel has been a well know name for about two decades, but Intel actually began much earlier than that. The company was founded in 1968 as the Integrated Electronics Corporation. The original focus of Intel was on memory, which was as much in its infancy as anything else, but Intel was contracted shortly after the company's foundation to create a general-purpose processor. This processor, called the Intel 4004, was successful. Even so, there were many companies making processors in those days. It wasn't until the mid 80s, as Intel continued to make processors using a common instruction architecture, that Intel started to emerge as a leading force in the market. This common instruction architecture, called x86, meant a program built for one Intel processor should work on all of them, and it was a major advantage over the one-off designs competitors were making. As competitors succumbed to the high costs of researching and developing new processors, Intel's market share grew. By the 90s Intel competitors had been conquered and had left Intel with about 80 percent of the processor market.
Advanced Micro Devices, or AMD, incorporated in 1969. AMD's early history included design and production of logic chips and computer memory. As was the case with Intel, the 80s were an important decade for the company. In 1982 AMD signed a lucrative contract to produce Intel's microprocessors for use in IBM branded computers. This contract with Intel led to the first rivalry between the companies, as Intel wanted out of the deal in 1986. Through a series of court battles, however, AMD won the rights to continue producing and selling Intel based chips, a business which carried AMD into the 90s. In 1996 AMD debuted its first in-house architecture, called the K6. The K6 was the first processor to seriously challenge Intel's products for years. Since then AMD has regularly introduced new architectures to compete with Intel.