Top Ten reasons why Rambus will sue Intel


— 2:20 AM on November 2, 2000

osOpinion has done a Letterman-esque top ten list on why Rambus may sue Intel. (This is minutiae, but top ten lists usually begin with number ten and count down to number one.) With Rambus embroiled in a number of lawsuits, this list's subject may become reality. Strange times, these are. Here is one good reason why this might really happen:

3. Intel will have to break its agreement with Rambus or cede the entire motherboard chipset market to Via.

Intel's agreement with Rambus states that Intel cannot make a DDR chipset unless certain conditions are met, or until 2003. Why is it that the image of the classic Microsoft-IBM DOS deal come to mind? Intel can either commit a material breach of contract, or face extinction in the chipset market. Even Intel will have a difficult time selling poor performance at a higher price (well, they are doing it now.) Intel needs DDR, or it will be living in the lower-class performance chipset arena for the foreseeable future. Intel would hate to lose this leverage over motherboard makers. Not long ago, Intel used this leverage to make these makers gun-shy of promoting AMD motherboards for a while. By insinuating that Intel might cause a "shortage" of chipsets to m/b makers who supported AMD openly, Intel was effective for a brief period of time in staving off the Athlon. Intel was perhaps hoping this would buy them some needed time to at least have the appearance of continual dominance.

To be fair to Rambus, a stick of 128MB PC800 memory can be had for just over $200, which isn't too bad. Yet it is hard not to marvel at their recent moves. Rambus is either bent on self-destruction or showing tremendous gumption in effectively backstabbing the other members of JEDEC. Their methods are not totally ineffective, either (see below). With Thanksgiving fast approaching, it looks like the lawyers will have a feast. The saga continues...
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