Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Intel Attempts to Ban VIA Imports 127

aibrahim writes "CNET's is reporting Intel's attempt to ban VIA chips and chipsets from U.S. import. This does not yet include, but may be extended to, VIA's Joshua processor. The ban seems to be based on the violation of intellectual property agreements related to Intel's 'P6 bus.' " For more details on this case, read about their long-running legal battle.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Intel Attempts to Ban VIA Imports

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward
    It's a Cyrix MII with a different bus.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I was moderated as "off topic", but this is VERY related. Intel is trying to get Via banned from importing into the US. Via and S3, are partners and Via owns a percentage of S3.

    S3 has just announced they they are partnered with Transmeta to sell linux based web devices.

    This IS on topic!!!

    And this is interesting...

  • by Anonymous Coward
    D-LINK uses the VIA chipset for many of its DE series ethernet you think that this deal will cause and end to D-LINK? I have 2 DFE-530TX's here at home and they work great...I'd hate to see such a great company die.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Well, this is more like the argument behind risc.

    Ever since riscifying the core and emulating the x86 instruction set in microcode, I guess the chip designers decided that less-oft used functions would be implemented inefficiently in microcode to save silicon so that the most frequently used instructions could be implemented without microcode and so most applications would get a speed up.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    For a change, something useful from the Hot Grits troll. I, for one, am impressed.

    Intel (tm) Hot Grits - for when you really want hot grits poured down the front of your pants.

    It would kinda explain the whole dancing clean-room engineers, wouldn't it.

  • Didn't Intel license with IBM way back when they started out? Intel basically sold its soul to IBM and others (National Semi, I believe) because they were a no-name in the market. Monopoly concerns had nothing to do with it.

    In any event, many licenses include a clause saying something to the effect of, "This agreement may be terminated at any time by either party." Now whether that's been tested in court, I don't know.

    I'd guess most OEM's will wait on the sidelines to see what happens. Why put your company's neck on the line if you don't have to?


  • Linux & Win9x are on the machine. The issue was not OS-related, though - it happened at hard-drive detection time. Both the FIC board and SCSI controller were at their most recent firmware flash revisions.
  • Since the gripe is about the P6 bus and the Athlon uses EV6 and any complaint they had about that would also involve AMD and Compaq-Digital.
  • Yes, I know what's going on in the case. I'm saying that it's highly unlikely that Intel would be pursuing a "ban on imports from VIA". It would be more accurate to say they're trying to get an injunction because VIA may be illegally using patented works. There's clear legal precident for that... but Intel is not the department of commerce, and hence does not have *any authority whatsoever* to ban via imports. That was what I was irked about. Slashdot made it sound like they're trying to ban *ALL* via imports. Not true.
  • Just out of curiosity, all day yesterday discussions were about how cool the new Transmeta chip is. If I remember correctly, Transmeta took out a slew of patents relating to this chip. If someone decided to make something painfully similar to it and take it to market, would Slashdotters expect Transmeta not to protect their patents? Would this much ruckus occur?

    Dont get me wrong, I hate seeing big guys stomp on people trying to make it. I also love the idea of a new chip from Transmeta that can do all it can do! I'm just thinking out loud here...
  • This isn't entirely correct.. When the first Athlon motherboards started to be relased, there were rumors that Intel was threating motherboard manufacturers with withholding chipset supply if the manufacturer produced athlon boards. Intel couldn't provide chipsets for the athlon motherboards becuase the athlon uses a different bus protocol that AMD licensed from DEC/Compaq (the Alpha EV6 bus) Intel has nothing to do with Athlon chipsets. Amd produces chipsets for use on Athlon boards, and so does VIA. The K7M is available just about anywhere online, and it even has the ASUS logo on it now :) ASUS I think has been afraid that if it markets its Athlon motherboard to heavily Intel will retaliate and cut off chipset supply for ASUS's Intel based boards..
  • What's even better is that the other lose from the i820 deal, Rambus is now trying to sue makers of SDRAM. [] Beautiful. Two companies fuck up and then lash out by sueing everybody in sight who makes successful products.

    Were'nt patents suppose to increase innovation?

  • Superbad! I guess i'm lucky.. Just picked up a new Epox board with a VIA chipset last week.. :) I just wish Intel would spend a little less time whining and a little more time kicking ass.

    Intel has an unfair advantage in the marketplace. We all know that -- Now theyre whining about how their unfair advantage is being threatened! Doesn't this strike anyone as being a little weird?

    Bowie J. Poag
    Project Manager, PROPAGANDA For Linux ( [])
  • Do your D-Link cards access memory on a P6 bus? Do they handle communications from your CPU to the devices on the motherboard?

    I didn't think so... Calm down.

  • Unless the increase in stories is caused by katz posting more...

  • I suppose I'm inviting a horde of flames for saying this, but if Via's liscense agreement for the P6 bus specifically prohibits Via from running it at speeds faster than 100Mhz, then Intel is certainly within its rights to revoke the liscense. Of course, having not seen the liscense, I don't know for sure whether such a clause exists... But if so, Intel has a responsibility to its shareholders to protect market share and ought to pursue this lawsuit... unless their lawyers believe that the liscense agreement will be viewed as anti-competitive in nature and will get them back in hot water with the FTC. Of course, whether or not the liscense agreement will hold up in court is a different matter entirely.

    Business is about money, not innovation; remember that.

  • Didn't the anti-trust agreement that Intel reached with the DoJ, a year or so ago forbid this kind of thing?
  • Why do people insist on perpetuating this falicy?

    Crusoe is NOT designed to compete with Intel...

    Its designed to compete with AMD ;)

    BTW... if Crusoe can support multiple Virtual Machines then if they write a morphing layer for Intel's 64bit processor then it would allow someone to run both new 64bit apps and legacy 16/32bit apps?

    Colleen:Its a black-hole.
    Hunter:Is that a good thing?
    C:It is if you want to be compressed into oblivion.
    H:Oh.. coooool.
  • Ever think that maybe it was just that chipset, or perhaps that chipset + something else you had in the system?

    I'm on my second motherboard with a VIA chipset (only reason I replaced the first one was to move up to one with K6-III support), and have been extremely happy with both of them. No problems whatsoever.

    If you followed a proper and thorough troubleshooting process to determine as much as possible that the chipset was indeed the cause of your problem, then I apologize for doubting you.

  • You are missing the beauty of the Crusoe idea.

    Simply put, if intel releases a P4 with MMX^3 instructions, all the folks at transmeta have to do is Reverse Engineer the sucker, write some code to emulate what it does on the metal, then burn a CD or post an upgrade for the chips on their website.

    they are not limited by what future moves intel does. The hardware is software upgradeable.

    Besides that, who gives a rats ass about those "enhanced for Intel" websites anyway? most of them tend to be "ooo-pretty" empty anyway..

  • If you really want news that matters (but which doesn't specifically implicate nerds) then you'll have to step out of slashdot for a moment.

    Florida's new legislation denying death-row inmates due process is being challenged [], and Texas is (again) slated to execute a paranoid schizophrenic (Larry Keith Robison []) this friday.

    The US trade deficit just hit [] 26.5 billion dollars.

    Civil war is still raging [] in Burundi. Pregnant Burundian refugees in neighboring Tanzania are especially feeling the pinch [].

    But if you'd rather only busy yourself with tech news, you can always play with stories like National Sorbents, Inc. Introduces DRY N' LOCK Product for the Mortuary Service Industry [] ("a proprietary new product that dramatically reduces the leakage of body fluids and embalming chemicals from cadavers"). Just think of all the fun you can have with that one!
  • Because with a name like KX133, how could it fail? You don't get any more 1337 than that (or should that be KX1337...). Way to target your audience!
  • Can I have an orifice plug please?

    Votes on postcards about who & which orifice I should insert it into....

  • The reason they switched from part numbers to names is because part numbers can't be trademarked. They got tired of all their competitors making "486" processors. They even make sure the name is original, so that they can assure a trademark. However, I don't think it has really made a difference in the market.
  • It probably doesn't do SMP. For the details they've released, look here:
  • There's plenty of Linux support for PPC. We have Debian and RedHat (Not official redhat but LinuxPPC is a legitimate company), and LinuxPPC supports SMP's. I think PPC linux has plenty of "serious" support.
  • I'm not sure I understand the concept. Company A patents a valuable design, then licenses it to Company B. B then improves A's design further with B's own IP (I presume) and sells a competing product. In what way can this violate the original license?

    What exactly did Via license--the right to productize an unalterable design or the IP itself? What are the limits? Can VIA fix bugs in the P6 core, or do they need permission? Is the agreement available on the web?

    My left pinky aches from all those question marks... Maybe I should check Google.

    This article [] from last October says that VIA used Intel's IP for the 133Mhz front side bus and 4X AGP, then tried to protect itself by having National Semi make the chipset, as they have the correct cross-licensing agreements w/ Intel. That raises one more "?". Does intel have the right to stop its cross-licensees from cooperating with each other, as Via did with National Semi?

    My original guess that VIA improved the design with its own IP seems to be wrong, but I'm still disturbed that Intel can use its clout to launch new PC standards and lock them down with patents. No wonder intel is so afraid of the "m" word!
  • C'mon! Not all Intel products are evil!
    Look at this lowly 8086. Who can help but feel pity for it?
  • For some reason the FIC PA-2013 the system had before was unhappy about having the Buslogic controller and IDE drives on the primary controller.

    What OS were you running? I had similar problems with Windows on my FIC 503 and my wife's FIC 2013 until I realized that you HAD to install the PCI bus patches that were included on the CD (and the website). I've never had any troubles whatsoever under Linux with any FIC MB i've installed.

    Also, I'm now dual booting W2K and Linux. W2K is having similar problems, and I can't install the patch. If I turn DMA on in my bios W2K locks up tight during boot.

  • I don't know whether this law suit is stupid or not. But the Cyrix cases (which Via uses as evidence that this case is silly) were not stupid. Cyrix got off on a technicality that was ambiguous. Thus it was reasonable for both sides to think they were in the right. But it's still a shame the cases had to go to court.

    Intel has provided us with Moore's Law, both in theory and in practice. We should all be greatful for this.

    Regarless of whether AMD, Via, Transmeta, or another company temporarily has a product that might be slightly cheaper, faster, or cooler, Intel has consistantly provided a very competative product in good quantity at a competative prices. Not many other companies can come close.

    Complaining that Intel doesn't always have the best product is silly. As is complaing about Intel not commiting to providing some companies with as many of a particular chip at a couple of speed ratings, when many other options were avaliable. You should be thankful that such high-end chips were priced so cheaply that so many people wanted them. Obviously, they could have charged more for those same chips. Simiarlly, Intel gets flak from Slashdot readers if it keeps it's prices up above AMD's prices and it gets flak from the same people if it cuts its prices to be more competative. Let's try be a little more reasonable.

    Intel has invested in several linux causes, giving them not only cash, but also the credability to be a threat to other big names like MS. They regularly support educational causes such as the International Science and Engineering Fair, the Intel Talent Search, and the Research Science Institute. I only know of these, because I was a part of them. (There are probably many more that I don't even know about.) I've also read about the lengths Intel has gone to respect enviromental concerns (I forget the details, but basically they could make their fabs much cheaper and still meet all the law requirements, but instead chose to spend more money to make thier fabs more environmentally responsible). I think Intel is one of the best citizens we have. Let's give them the respect they deserve.

  • I've always thought that Intel is more of an anticompetitive company than MSFT - at least Microsoft doesn't try to get SAMBA banned because it uses their coveted SMB protocol.

    Intel, in the past, have done some terribly anticompetitive things: they've sued AMD, in the past, for using the Intel instructions under a license Intel granted them, they have spread a large amount of FUD about AMD, Cyrix, Rise, NexGen processors in the past (which is why AMD bought NexGen and Cyrix and Rise both went to VIA, which is the entire point of this article.) Intel also tries to lock people into using Intel processors, but they decided to pay off the DOJ so they can keep on doing this. Even if I want to buy an Athlon (I do), it's very hard to get hold of one because Intel threaten Dell, Gateway etc. with removal of price quotas if they even dare to go for a better chip. The Pentium III is a privacy-stealing kludge.

    And remember - Intel wasn't chosen for the original PC because it was the best (IBM were aiming for the Motorola 68000 or some National Semiconductor chip, now forgotten), but because the 8088 supported 8080 hardware and there were no other chips available. In effect, Intel were chosen because they were the worst.

    I feel that VIA, and AMD, and the other companies which try to fight against Intel (and AMD win on speed and, especially, price) should be encouraged and supported, just like anti-Microsoft efforts (such as BeOS [I'm getting 5.0!], the Linux support base etc.) because of their own anticompetitive collusions. It's the same thing - freedom from the large corporations, who want to rule your life. Intel is the Microsoft of hardware, which however doesn't care as much about PR because they know at least 50% of the non-Internet connected users (figure unknown) don't even know there's an alternative. Remember that.
  • I hope not, I can't wait to see what the KX133 is going to do for the Athlon!

  • Hey, give Hemos a break!

    There haven't been any good nano- or robo- stories for him to post, he's trying to take on a new hobby...patents!

    If nothing else, it means less Katz!*


    * By ratio of total stories. If total stories increase, then percentage of Katz stories must decrease.

  • This is the first I've ever heard of the Joshua processor.
    Does anyone know anything about these? i.e. are there any benchmarks yet? how do they compare
    to celerons, can you SMP etc..
    An even lower cost SMP setup would be really sweet, I was thinking of getting a dual celeron,
    but now I may have to wait and see how these stack up.

    --Drive carefully. 90% of people are caused by accidents.
  • I would instead look at my lowly 8008 chip. If I could find it. At the moment it's lost in a sea of TTL down in the lab.
  • Wrong, the KX133 violates NONE of Intels intellectual property, however the Apollo Pro might so you could buy the KX but not the AP. (That is my understanding, I could be wrong) Besides, there are other ways to aquire matierials banned by the ftc.
  • If I really wanted to read about the world's problems I would not be on Slashdot. If I wanted to get a quick jist of what is going on in the tech world, then a peek at Slashdot on my lunch hour is what I do.

    Now if I could just find a cork...
  • If I remeber right, the terms of the DOJ settlement was that Intel released the slot-1 arctiecture info, and the DOJ would get off their back.

    Now they're suing over the same arcitecture? Hmmmm.


    Looking for HAL, found Bender...

  • there's one strategy of intel which is touching crusoe, that's those silly p3-optimized internet-plug-ins, f.e. weboutfitter []. the crusoe is targeted on the internet and will not be able to display those websites.

    transmeta stated themselves in their crusoe-introduction how important it is to be 100% compatible and to be able to display the "cool website of the day" (page 17 []) every plugin which needs some SIMD-extension (single instruction, multiple data) like 3d-now or MMX will reduce those 100% from crusoe.

  • Yeah, next we're going to have photo personals here, right?


  • Intel won't do anything to Transmeta. Because still Linus is more popular that Crusoe. Doing something bad to Transmeta is like doing something bad to Linus. And, doing something bad to Linus will earn the wrath of the Linux community. A Linux-user boycott won't be the best thing for Intel. After-all, the Crusoe isn't for desktops.
  • Ummm, this is supposed to be part of the thread beginning with comment #2. sorry about that, folks.
  • First off, Intel is loosing big money to AMD. I don't care how large a company is, they DO CARE when they're loosing money to competitors.

    ** I would use whatever is cheapest and works well. I have used 3 computers in my home environment over my computing time and all three were Intel machines**
    Funny - that's a contradiction. Show me one Intel processor that is being sold for LESS than it's AMD equivalent. You also said that you use what is readily available: Intel is having chip shortages. That is why Gateway and other computor manufacturers are going to AMD. Check out this article []for more info.


  • Usually, this sort of tactic would tend to imply that Intel is somewhat... afraid(?) of the unknown. Just my opinion :)
  • Where's the borg cube with "intel" stamped on to the side?

    Microsoft never tried THIS.

    first the "shortage" of chipsets, now this?

    Let's hope Transmeta and AMD can take over the market.
  • I've been thinking that if it's true that the opcodes could be implemented faster at relatively no cost then it's quite possible that they implemented them "badly" just to force compiler to use simpler instructions. Sort of trying to RISCify the x86 by having a bad implementation of the "messy" instructions.
  • You are forgetting that the user experiences the whole computer, not just the processor. The sad true story is that while AMD processors are just as good as Intel's (if not better, just look at Intel's errata) the companion chipsets are really crappy. And you have to add that the cheaper systems have crappy motherboards (Gateway anyone?). So while the processor is robust and compatible, if you have crappy chipsets (which is all the Super 7's) which renders the whole machine unstable and incompatible. So don't let your AMD fan feelings blind you from the truth: it's more difficult to get a cheap, stable AMD computer than an Intel's one (that's the vantage of Intel's chipsets).
  • First and foremost Via has a joint venture with S3 that can make the chips under cross license agreement. But it's obvious that Intel is using strong arm tactics which are highlly illigal under US antitrust laws. Now I'm going to be a bit paranoic . Intel and AMD are US companies, so Intel can't really be that bad to AMD. But VIA is a taiwanese company. So it's possible that when the FTC makes the cost-benefit analysis they find that the cost to consumers in US is less than the monopolistic benefits that Intel gets from the rest of the world (and on which it pay's income tax). Ok, may be it's a bit extreme. But I think you should think about it.
  • I spent this summer working as an intern at Intel, and if there is anything I can tell you about the company, is that they are parinoid about anyone perceiving them as a monopoly. So much so that at new employee orintation that went so far as to show video of M$ in court and tell us exactly what we could and could not do when dealing with customes. I'm not a brainwashed stooge of the Intel Corporation, I own an k6-2, and am verry happy with it, but Intel's quality control processes are some of the best in the industry (I worked for the Corporate Quality Network). When a chip comes out by intel labeld as 700 mhz, that is not its top speed. Infact, that's not even the speed it runs at most of the time. Intel's chips are "quality guarded" to run faster than what they are marketed as (which is why a celeron can be over clocked). I don't like M$, and I don't buy their products. That has nothing to do with the fact that they have a monopoly, but because most of their stuff sucks. Intel makes a lot of good chips, and if I could afford a 4 way P3-Zeon Box I'd buy one in an instant. I support the open source movement, but that doesn't mean I think all software should be free, proprietary soft ware has its place. I feel the same way about hardware. If VIA would have reverse engineered the specs on their own, I would agree with you all the way, but they were lisenced the product and they went and modifed it and then tried to sell it (which according to Intel was a violation of the lisence agreement). I can't beleive that anyone would think that its ok for a company to make an agreement with another company and then go back on it. That is the same reason I see so many people on this group bashing microsoft. Intel may be a large company, and they sell a lot of chips, but they are no evil monopoly. The didn't get there by forcing oem's to ship just intel chips in intel boards, like M$ did with its win32 lisences. Intel also has extensive programs for supporting motherboard manfuactures that make motherboards that directly compete with them. They, however, aren't getting sued. This reason is that those people didn't violate their lisence agreement. The beleive that all companies that are big are evil is ignorant and stupid. A lot of them got there because they had good products.
  • ... deveive anti-trust investigators by licensing your technologu to prove that there is competition and then revoke the license when the investigation is over. The point I was trying to make, even the though I didn't realy say much to it, is that I don't know what the agreement was, and neither do you. Intel and VIA know what it was, and one of them is saying the other violated that agreement. I don't think that is an automatic reason to assume the company is an evil monopoly, or that they were trying to devieve competitors. Intel has always made all of their hardware product interface specifications openly available without requiring a lisence (see []), as well as offering free support to hardware manufactures that want to make products that implement these interfaces (other than CPU's, of course). The fact that VIA entered a lisence agreement with Intel in the first place seem to indicate to me that there was some strategic reason that they needed more from them than just development support and hardware interface specifications. I was also trying to point out that they don't need to create the illusion that they have competition, because they do. AMD, which is now creating chips that are BETTER (the k7's) than Intel's chips, is fierce competitor of intel. For a while AMD was loosing hundreds of millions of dollars a year, but they were being kept a float by IBM, which kept pumping money into them. This, however, doesn't mean AMD is going out of buisness, and isn't a viable competitior, because IBM did the same thing for INTEL in their infancy, and now I'm sitting here arguing with people who are saying that Intel is a large evil monopoly. I just find problem with the idea that any company that is very successful is ultimately evil, and that smaller startup comapnies are always justified. VIA's stuff was better, and thats good and fine, but if they did violate their agreement, than they should be accountable for it. If they didn't, then Intel is just sulking because they didn't make as good of a product as VIA did, and the'll probably learn a thing or two about how they word their partnerships with other companies. If you are going to bash a company, do it because they make bad products, take choice away from consumers, and force companies to only sell their products, and to not be able to costimise these products to the specifications of their customers. Also, if you are going to aviod all intel products, be prepared to avoid a lot of products that you probably don't think are intel products. Take RedHat for instance. Red hat is owned, in part, by intel. There are a lot of other products out there that are made by comapnies owned by intel that you probably use a lot, and love. If you use an alpha chip, be warned, that products was manufactured by an intel employee in an intel factory in MA.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Did you even read the article? Have you any clue whatsoever what is going on in this case? I realize you were trying to come across as a voice of reason, and you had to hurry to get in to the first ten posts to maximize your karma earnings, but this is ridiculous. Don't do that!

    Via has a license to make chips that use the P6 core. They bought it from intel, who sold it thinking that Via couldn't or wouldn't do anything with it, and by selling it relieved ftc pressure somewhat.

    Via could no more spin off a company to produce these chips than AMD could make Athlons which fit in the 820 motherboard. This isn't an ideological issue; via isn't at war with intel over some principle. Via Corporation is trying to make money, and Intel Corporation is trying to make money, and intc is suddenly realizing that they aren't as good at it as they used to be.

    stoopid karma whore.
  • Okay, so Intel's done some nice stuff. Bill Gates has donated billions to charity too. Does this mean we should give companies that do nice things the license to do whatever the hell they want to other, smaller companies?

    Please, think about what you say before you post. What you've said is absolutely laughable.

    - A.P.

    "One World, one Web, one Program" - Microsoft promotional ad

  • Are you sure Gates has given billions to charity? I believe he's pledged to donate more than a billion dollars spread over the years to come, but to date the donations he's made are proportionally equivalent to my $120 check to PBS last year.

  • I can't beleive that anyone would think that its ok for a company to make an agreement with another company and then go back on it.

    Or worse yet, deceive anti-trust investigators by licensing your technology to prove that there is competition and then revoking the license when the investigation is over. Then whining about how someone else competing in the chipset market with you. Damn. Some companies have a lot of nerve.

  • Actually, the K7M is mentioned on the Motherboard Products page (in the body, not as a button) -

    Athlon K7 OEM Solution

    The ASUS K7M and K7M-RM is equipped with 200MHz FSB, 3x DIMM, UDMA/66, and optional Health Monitoring and 2 additional USB ports.
    Here's the link: cts/Motherboard/index.html []

    Interestingly, when you click on the K7M / K7M-RM the cpu connection button bar adds "Slot A" as an entry. ;)

    I have been on an AMD/Asus buying spree lately. I got my g/f an Asus P5A motherboard for her K6-2 and have built a webserver with K6-2 & Asus P5A. These machines have done quite well in relatively different applications - the webserver has been going non-stop for 243 days (running FreeBSD 3.2-RELEASE), and my g/f's workstation doesn't have any hardware issues with its wealth of toys. Eg., Hauppauge WinTV 401, Buslogic Multimaster SCSI controlling a Plextor 40X Max CD-ROM (which utterly and completely rocks), and Yamaha 4416 SCSI CD-RW. For some reason the FIC PA-2013 the system had before was unhappy about having the Buslogic controller and IDE drives on the primary controller. Smooth sailing in all cases w/ the ASUS P5A, though.

    Also, I'm currently in the specification stage for 2 rackmount Athlon servers. After dealing with vendors to get the Athlon machines set up, I can tell you - it is *not* easy to find higher-end configurations with Athlon. Fortunately, the good people at ASL, Inc. [] have been very helpful. In fact, they were the first vendor I saw meaningfully demonstrate Athlons (when I was lucky enough to attend Atlanta Linux Showcase last year). If you're looking to build an Athlon server, check them out. They're cool. Tell them ninjaz sent you. ;)

  • Can you imagine what this world will look like if Intel has the patent right for "a round thing"?

    We wouldn't have wheels for our cars, we wouldn't have balls to play with, no ballbearings for industrial use, no hot air balloon festival (except the square or weird-shaped ones), no hoola-hoops, all waterpipes would be triangular or square shape, and so on.

    While "patents" and "copyrights" do have their use, the way Intel is exercising their "rights" is not contributing to the world's intellectual richness. Conversely, the more Intel (and other companies) abusing the "patents" and "copyrights" laws to their selfish advantages, the poorer the world is going to be.

    Count ourselves lucky, then, since they forget to file for the "a round thing" patent.

  • The real friction between Intel and VIA started when they announced the addition of PC-133 and DDR-SDRAM support to the chipset they had just licensed from Intel. This move greatly upset Intel because they were trying to convince the PC market in general to embrace the obscenely overpriced beast that is RDRAM. Via may or may not have had ( according to different sources) had a clause in their license dealing with supported cpu bus speeds. Meaning that Intel didn't want anyone else offering an increase in performance, well, atleast not before Intel offered one.

    The problem was that Via already had chipsets that could run 133Mhz+, but they couldn't market those as anything other than 100Mhz chips. Then Intel missed some of the planned announcement dates for their 133Mhz FSB processors because of troubles with the i820 chipset( it was supposed to ship Q2 99) and Via got impatient and announced that their chipset had 133Mhz fsb, DDR-SDRAM, AGP4x support and more. That seemed to anger the lawsuit suits at intel and we are still watching the unfolding drama now.

    Now if Intel did actually have a legal agreement that prevented Via from shipping a faster chipset and they broke the agreement, then I am on Intels side.

    If Intel is just upset because Via has proven they have a product manufacturers want to buy over the i820, then Intel is just being infantile. That wouldn't excuse the lawsuits though. I do believe that this is the first time that a *major* product effort from Intel has been a *major* dud. This could just be a reaction to the rejection.

    Double standard? I don't think so. Your opinion may differ.
  • Oh, calm down people. Intel can't tell another company to stop importing. It was probably blown out of proportion by another media hound looking for some sensationalized story. Even if they could ban VIA, they could just create another company, sell to them, rebrand the via chipset and sell *that*.
  • This complaint is all about the P6 bus. AMD is exempt from all this whining. They signed away their ability to be slot compatible with Intel for a license to MMX. The only way that this could ever affect AMD is if they turned around and made Slot 1 Athlons.
  • It is in fact fair, and legal, to be monopolistic. It's how you manage to obtain that monopoly that determines whether or not you have broken the law.

  • Definitely not off-topic. Crusoe is competing with Intel. Or going to attempt to anyway :)
  • If my memory serves me correctly then Intel repeatedly sued both AMD and Cyrix for stuff and it got into malicious prosecution countersuits.

    And the Cyrix guys sad "Intel sued us five times, they never won"

  • I remember that on the original Pentium, it was faster to implement a bit scan (first bit set from one edge) with shifts and masks than to use the BSR or BSL opcodes.

    If I remember correctly, the bit field instructions on the Motorola 68020 were also slower than shifting and masking. The index register instructions on the Zilog Z80 were so much slower than other instructions that they were pretty worthless.

    Intel's designs are neither uniquely good nor uniquely bad. They're just successful and that makes them a popular target.

  • I think this particular case (despite what the picture on the article says) has less to do with patents and more to do with one company trying to Ban (!?!) another. So yes, I would get pissed if Transmeta came out and tried to ban another chip company.

    Furthermore, I will come out and claim that the Transmeta patents are much more detailed and specific and less obvious than something such as one-click shopping.

    Patents have their place; Transmeta seems to be using the appropriately. Trademarks have their place; Linus seems to be using them appropriately. Other companies, such as Amazon, Intel, Microsoft,, et. al. are abusing the system. If you read the article, did you see that Intel sued Cyrix 5 times? 5 times! And Cyrix was never even big competetion.

  • I mean, come on. Intel is just pissed off that someone else has better products than they do. AMD's got a faster processor. VIA has a better GTL+ chipset (Apollo 133A). The Joshua could possibly pick up where the Celeron left off. Allowing BX based mobo users an
    • inexpensive
    upgrade path. Joshua should be priced about where Celerons are today. Imagine 8x100. :) BTW, what is the max multiplier on a BX mobo?
  • On some FIC motherboards (which I assume is what you're talking about), the floppy drive was disabled in the BIOS by default. There is two options you need to change in the setup program to enable it. With about 30 seconds, and a little knowledge, you probably would have been able to keep the motherboard you already had.

    I admit this is kinda stupid. But it's not a quality program. It's just the defaults they selected in the setup program. And the person you bought the board from should have been smart enough to tell you that. But if you want to blame the chipset manufacturer, you're welcome to.
  • This ban means we won't be seeing the VIA Athlon boards either. VIA can't import chips or mobos if Intel gets the injunction. VIA is the only major gun to not have a top-performing Athlon board out now. No VIA, no increased choice in boards, and we'll be using Irongate for another six-eight months.
  • You could care less about Transmeta. All you care about is your damn casino. Anyway, your argument doesn't make any sense because Transmeta is an American company and the Intel/VIA dispute is between an American company
    and an foreign company. So how could this have anything to do with Transmeta?

    Well I don't think gambling is entertaining either but that's beside the point. If you can program something sophisticated in a popular web site (be it irritating like with a porn or a casino site) that at least says that it works for a few people.

    The point that he is trying to make (I think) is that Intel feels quite threatened by the fact the a small time chip manufacturer may be taking away customers in another country. Their chips are "just too close to ours" or something like that. What we really must look at first is what kind of threat do they actually pose? Are these chips in wide production so that they actually make it to the USA and are there compelte systems that include these processors. Personally if these processors can run linux and they are in cheap systems that would knock about a couple hundred dollars off the price of a similar Intel machine then I just might be there. I am really getting tired of my useless computer and am looking for a replacement. /* Just try running Gimp with a 486. You too can experience the windows lock up type thing on linux */.
  • Usually, this sort of tactic would tend to imply that Intel is somewhat... afraid(?) of the unknown. Just my opinion :)

    In business there is a whole field called Risk Assesment that goes into exactly what kind of risks there are out there and how a company is to look at those threats. Companies have lawyers because if they don't sue someone else will. Generally a new slightly similar chip in the marketplace that might challenge them would almost ceternally be a risk. Assessing the risk to the best of their ability is what being a good salesman/businessman/CEO is all about. Generally until they determine what the total risk picutre is they will use the lawyers as a measure to prevent problems.
  • Hmm, maybe Intel is learning. When AMD came along offering a comperable (if not better) product at cheaper pricing, Intel ignored it and hoped it would go away. -BIG MISTAKE-. Now that VIA is doing the same thing, maybe
    Intel is figuring out that they should do something. Of course, trying to ban it may not be the best way...

    Intel like Microsoft dosn't really need to care about anything. Technically inclined people use all the either better stuff or cheaper stuff and the rest of the world uses what is easily avaible. I would use whatever is cheapest and works well. I have used 3 computers in my home environment over my computing time and all three were Intel machines. This was not because I especially like Intel but because they were cheap and avaible at the time (since I needed a replacement). As long as it runs linux I am a happy person.
  • If they were threatening AMD motherboards and components I'd be much more upset with them. Maybe VIA should move their fabs over to 100% AMD stuff and then maybe I could get a fucking SMP AMD motherboard this quarter.

    (Greyfox is pissed off that he still can't get an SMP AMD Motherboard and his perception is that it's Intel's fault.)

  • Heh... Via makes crap products anyway... perhaps a blessing in disguise? :)

    Seriously... when your new motherboard doesn't recognize your FLOPPY DRIVE no matter which way you plug it in, and you take it back and buy a mobo made by someone else and the floppy works fine... that doesn't bode well for whoever made the dodgy motherboard. I've never spoken to anyone who felt anything but antipathy towards Via.

  • We'd only be upset by Transmeta defending their patents against an equally cool company.

    Conveniently, there's only one Linus, so the existence of such a company is technically impossible.

    Therefore, your argument is invalid.

  • Ever since I had an alternative, I've stuck any "Intel Inside" stickers inside the rim of my wastebasket :) It gives me a good feeling whenever I'm tossing wadded paper basketballs at it.

    What we need to do is: make monopolies illegal, period. Patents to recoup investment? ok, but sell the shared patent rights to several competitors, full rights not licenses. Those companies would collectively collect all of the legitimate value of the patent away from substitute technologies, but would not be able to charge monopoly rents.

  • Hmm, maybe Intel is learning. When AMD came along offering a comperable (if not better) product at cheaper pricing, Intel ignored it and hoped it would go away. -BIG MISTAKE-. Now that VIA is doing the same thing, maybe Intel is figuring out that they should do something. Of course, trying to ban it may not be the best way...

  • While it maight be true that some instruction implementations are not the best possible, I would like to focus on the quality of it's chipsets. It's very difficult to check against SGI, Sun or Alpha chipsets, so I guess we are constrained to x86 comparison. And in that market, at least until BX they had the very best top of the line. If nothing else thay are the only ones who implement protocols flawlesslly. I mean, who could get an AGP to work perfectly on a VIA or ALi without disabling features (like X2 mode)? I had to switch to a Celeron when my k6 couldn't talk to my USB camera (BTW the Intel TX used it perfectly, but I needed 100Mhz FSB). No only that but their performance used to be stellar. Simply unreachable by the competitors. If you've seen benchmarks through Internet you'll see that the Apollo Pro with PC133 can't beat a BX with PC100. That's simply amazing. Until Intel launched the i740 they had the fastest, most compatible and flawless products. But then... i740 (horrid performance, no local memory texturing, though it was a high quality product), the first Celeron (16 Kb cache, horrid performante), the i810 (horrid performante and reliability issues), Rambus (questionable performance, outrageous cost, intent to corner the RAM market, the reason of all current problems), i810e (horrid performance), i820 (late, buggy, slow, expensive), Coppermine (late, buggy), i840 (expensive), SpeedStep (late), 800Mhz (vaporware) and the Itanium (brain dead, clumbsy, bloated, slow, expensive, late, late, late, etc.). So it may be true that the current offering is crap or dated (the venerable BX). But they have a history of delivering good products. Though I doubt they can keep up any longer
  • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Thursday January 20, 2000 @09:27AM (#1354838) Homepage Journal

    If someone decided to make something painfully similar to it and take it to market, would Slashdotters expect Transmeta not to protect their patents?

    I would expect them to protect their patents. From looking at them, they really are innovative and novel.

    Intel is trying to protect a monopoly of chipsets by claiming things like pin layout and a particular grouping of industry standard signaling protocols as intellectual property (and thus blocking interoperability). They have sued MANY companies many times, and lost them all so far.

    If Transmeta did that, I know that I would contribute to the ruckus that might occur here.

  • by jd ( 1658 ) < minus city> on Thursday January 20, 2000 @09:02AM (#1354839) Homepage Journal
    1. Develop a better chipset & processor
    2. Use co-operative licencing (you get our enhancements, we get yours)
    3. Sue the companies for millions, and lose

    Why is Intel obsessed with doing the same thing IBM tried to do with PC clone manufacturers? Even if they win, they'll lose. The only way to compete is to stay ahead, and you can't do that if you're obsessing over where everyone else is.

  • by um... Lucas ( 13147 ) on Thursday January 20, 2000 @09:11AM (#1354840) Journal
    Intels spat is that they licensed their patented technology to VIA. VIA made changes that Intel disputed, so apparently, Intel has terminated their license, which means that VIA no longer has a legal right to use Intels patents.

    With the license terminated, Via has nothing to sell to another company, because that company would then be violating Intels patents and could therefore not ship into the US, unless something gets overturned.

    This is the same reason that US based PKI products use either Diffie Hellman or aquire a license from RSA. They can't just use an RSA implementation that was developed overseas and sell it here, because that would still violate RSA's original patent.

    Expect to see a HUGE battle over this one. Via definetly is the ballsiest company to cross Intel's path in ages.
  • by um... Lucas ( 13147 ) on Thursday January 20, 2000 @08:56AM (#1354841) Journal
    The last two yars Intel did all it could to avoid being marked a "monopoly", including licensing MMX and the P6 bus. Now that it's not called that, it can continue to compete "aggressively", which according to Intels playbook, includes revoking licenses it granted when it was under the DOJ's microscope.
  • by josepha48 ( 13953 ) on Thursday January 20, 2000 @09:25AM (#1354842) Journal
    I personally see this as an early sign of the unifying and globalizing of the planet. In the 2***'s (some people argue over weather this is the new century or not), I think that we will see more global issues than ever before. The internet is sort of forcing us into a global world. It is the new global standard. English is being pushed as another standard, and there are more. In this case it looks like Intel has patents that may only be valid in the US, and some other countries. But here we see another country create a processor by probably reverse enginerring the celeron or however they do it. How are the laws between countries on this governed. Will the other country have to give in to the US and let Intel have its way? Or will the US let the other country sell it outside of the US? Who wins here, and who looses? More and more over the next 100 years we shall see more issues that arise between countries over problems like this. This will inevitable cause more and more countries to think more open minded about change and diversity. I think now I am babbling and obviosly this flu/sickness is making my mind blabber....

    send flames > /dev/null

  • by DuckWing ( 19575 ) on Thursday January 20, 2000 @09:08AM (#1354843)
    Intel did something similar to ASUS. Intel couldn't supply some chips for the ASUS Athlong motherboard, so ASUS went to VIA. Today, you see no mention of that motherboard (K7M) on the ASUS web site. Some stores still carry it, but it comes in a white box. no logo, etc.

    Intel strong armed ASUS for the move, not it appears it wants to strike at the source. More reason to use non-intel hardware if you ask me. My MB is a Fic VA-503+, via chipset and my CPU is an AMD K6-2/400. To hell with Intel!

  • by TheDullBlade ( 28998 ) on Thursday January 20, 2000 @09:00AM (#1354844)
    "Intel sued Cyrix five times, and they never won," he said. "Intel--they just love lawsuits."
  • by MrP- ( 45616 ) <jessica AT supjessica DOT com> on Thursday January 20, 2000 @09:09AM (#1354845)
    VIA seems to like breaking laws.... I downloaded some MVP3 chipset drivers for windows the other day, a self extracting winzip archive, I ran the file and it said it was a trial version of winzip self extractor and cannot be distributed and if you distribute it you are breaking copyright law and stuff..... should i report 'em to Nico Mak? =)

    $mrp=~s/mrp/elite god/g;
  • by barleyguy ( 64202 ) on Thursday January 20, 2000 @08:43AM (#1354846)
    I agree. This is pure anti-competitive bullshit. Intel has never actually proven any IP violations by VIA, so they have no legitimate cause for banning import. I think the motivation for this could be that VIA is the main third party manufacturer for Athlon chipsets, as well as 133 Mhz Aluminummine chipsets. Intel likes to have a stranglehold on the high end of the market. If they can't win by competing fairly, they just try to cut off the supply of competitors' products.
  • by cnflctd ( 69843 ) <> on Thursday January 20, 2000 @12:57PM (#1354847)
    Now if Intel did actually have a legal agreement that prevented Via from shipping a faster chipset and they broke the agreement, then I am on Intels side.

    From my limited understanding, there was no such agreement as such, but the lack of one. Intel has patented the 133Mhz FSB format as well as 4X AGP format, and had NOT cross-licensed these with VIA. VIA then cooperated with National Semiconductor (which did have the correct licenses from Intel) to manufacture the chip set. Intel is upset because these two small competitors pooled their respective Intel licenses. In my uneducated opinion, if intel is going to micromanage the lives of their licensees, I don't see why they made the agreements in the first place.

    This article [] refers to VIA's ploy with Nat Semi. And this one [] tells of a similar situation, this time between Acer and Nat Semi. "Not a valid loophole," says an Intel's top legal ballbuster, referring to the co-operation between its rivals. But that's up to the court to decide, and I'll bet that VIA's mantra is going to be "monopoly-monopoly-monopoly"
  • by TuRRIcaNEd ( 115141 ) on Thursday January 20, 2000 @09:01AM (#1354848)
    It seems very much like Intel are performing a few MS-like maneouvers of their own here. Obviously if a licensing agreement was made, then that should be enforceable, but to me it seems that they're just using that legal excuse (and corporate weight) to prevent competition.

    Isn't that more or less what MS stand accused of doing??!

    I mean, it would make sense if VIA, AMD and the like were producing inferior copies that harmed the reputation of the computer industry, holding back performance, or if they were using Intel's trademark, but they're not. They actually seem to be able to produce better product, faster and cheaper. Consumers and users aren't being harmed here, just Intel's profit margin.
    Why is it that when big companies are outdone in the innovation field, they always resort to bring legal powers to bear on the smaller firms, thus harming the very innovation they're trying to promote. If Intel took this attitude 6 years ago, we'd probably be using 486's still!

    If I were them, I'd stop spending all this money and lawsuits and spend SERIOUS amounts of money on R&D. They're just going to get left behind otherwise.

    Just my opinion.......
  • by Kagato ( 116051 ) on Thursday January 20, 2000 @09:28AM (#1354849)
    They can't touch transmeta. Reason being that transmeta is having IBM fab the chips. IBM and Intel have a cross license that pretty much makes it possible for IBM to make an exact clone of a PIII chip and sell it. To ward off Anti-trust fears Intel did a number of these agreements with large vendors. The idea being that, while IBM has some of the best fab facilities in the world they can't d it as cheaply as Intel. And in this cut throat market nobody is going ot pay more for the CPU than they have to.

    Most of the six law suits that Intel failed to prevail against Cryix were based on the fact that some of the production was fabed by IBM.

    This brings up the interesting point of how much of a leg does VIA have to stand on? The VIA PR guy claims that Intel never won against Cryix so they aren't worried. But this case is different. I would wager that VIA's key point will be based on if the license agreement is really terminated because Intel said so?

    On the bright site I would not be suprised to see the OEM's that via is sending chips to here in the states file with the court on behalf of VIA. They will get just as hurt as Via if Intel prevails.
  • by seaportcasino ( 121045 ) on Thursday January 20, 2000 @08:33AM (#1354850) Homepage
    Now that somebody has come along and actually started competing with them, they just can't handle. It makes me wonder the hell they're gonna try to do to transmeta!

  • Back in the early 1980's a new fad started in the US. People got their BS in engineering and went straight for an MBA. Then they graduated, and got directly onto the fast track. They never really worked in the trenches, at least not beyond some probationary period, and certainly not putting their heart into it.

    Now these people are 'Captains of the industry', and you know what? They're not really comfortable with the underlying technology they're in charge of. They're much more comfortable with business.

    As a result, technical competition has been fading during the '90s, and business competition has moved in. Companies don't want to get your business by producing the best products and giving the best service for the price. They want you to have to use their products and services, at their price, because there is no other choice.

    This is really what Linux is about. Frustrated tekkies who want to do their best, but are barred by 'business concerns' into mediocre solutions. It began with software, because there was already some appropriate history there, and it is cheap to enter and build on that history. It will be interesting to see where else the paradigm works.
  • by TheDullBlade ( 28998 ) on Thursday January 20, 2000 @08:56AM (#1354852)
    For ages they've just had terrible designs of their chips. You can actually write software replacements for many of their opcodes that exactly duplicate the function of an opcode but run faster.

    I remember that on the original Pentium, it was faster to implement a bit scan (first bit set from one edge) with shifts and masks than to use the BSR or BSL opcodes. Not in some clever way either, but just a standard binary search. This elementary problem could be done by a bright second year engineering student to work in one or two cycles with maybe a hundred gates.

    There's just no excuse for that. It's not hard to to implement an opcode so that it just runs a sequence of other opcodes, and it wouldn't have taken much surface at all to be able to bitscan in one cycle.
  • by hattig ( 47930 ) on Thursday January 20, 2000 @08:51AM (#1354853) Journal

    Say what you like about the quality of Intel products, but their attitude is appalling. They signed a deal with VIA to deflect the monopoly investigation they were under, and then they got pissed off because VIA made a better chipset.

    This basically says that Intel wants a monopoly on chipsets. If this injunction is granted, then they will have succeeded in their aims. I think that the Federal Trade Commission should be called in to reinvestigate Intel _because_ of their behaviour towards competitors.

    It is fair to be competitive, but not to be monopolistic, and then cover that up by licensing their chipset to a competitor so they can say, "look, we are good boys, we allow comptetition" and then rescind the license a few months later when they aren't being investigated.

    Luckily this won't affect the AMD chipsets, so expect to see even more choice in Athlon chipsets soon.

    I don't like bully-boy corporations. Lack of competition means less innovation in the market. Intel has a huge share of the chipset and motherboard market as it is.

    I doubt that the companies using VIA chipsets (Compaq et al) will be too happy. Expect them to react and go 100% Athlon if this attempt to ban VIA works. If they cave into Intel and switch to Intel chipsets then I have no respect for them! :-)


  • You know, they used to be much more subtle in their maneuvering, basically when the competition was so inept that they couldn't find their own asses. Now that AMD finally has a winner (Athlon) and they're getting better than expected earnings (high expected was ~26 cents/share, turns out to be more like 46) Intel's starting to get desperate.

    Despite the spread of the Athlon, VIA's bread and butter in the PC industry is still the P6/PPro/P2/Celeron/whatever it's called this week market. Intel is trying to strangle all the competitors out of this market - witness the copyrighted P6 bus preventing competitors from breaking into Intel's market...
  • by kinesis ( 13238 ) on Thursday January 20, 2000 @08:49AM (#1354855)
    Slashdot poster 'kinesis' has said he will no longer allow the import of any Intel products into his apartment and that he will sue any and all parties necessary to enforce the import ban.

    In a prepared statement, kinesis said, "Those guys suck!"

    An approximately 960 square foot area of Northern California is affected by the ban.

In less than a century, computers will be making substantial progress on ... the overriding problem of war and peace. -- James Slagle