February 28, 2006 4:36 PM PST

AMD's lawyers call on Skype

Related Stories

Intel's mantra: Let's make a deal

February 13, 2006

When Intel calls, Skype listens

February 8, 2006

AMD v. Intel: More companies subpoenaed

October 6, 2005
As part of its ongoing antitrust case against Intel, Advanced Micro Devices on Tuesday served Skype with a subpoena demanding documents related to its deal to make one feature in Skype 2.0 available exclusively to Intel users.

The legal filing joins a long list of subpoenas AMD has filed in search of evidence that Intel has used its dominant market share of x86 PC and server processors to prevent AMD from winning business with certain partners. Intel has denied those accusations, and the companies are preparing for an antitrust trial that promises to reveal loads of details about the inner workings of the PC industry.

AMD is now focusing on a feature in Skype 2.0 that enables the ability to make 10-person conference calls only with Intel dual-core processors. Users with AMD dual-core chips or single-core chips are restricted to hosting five-person conference calls because only Intel's chips offer the performance necessary to host the 10-way call, according to Skype.

AMD disagrees. It believes Intel has provided Skype with incentives to limit the feature to Intel's chips, said Chuck Diamond, a partner with O'Melveny & Myers and lead counsel in AMD's antitrust suit against Intel. Intel has denied doing so, but even if no financial incentives were included in the deal, as a company with dominant market share, Intel is subject to different rules, he said.

"The law requires a monopolist to compete on the merits. This is not competition on the merits," Diamond said.

A Skype executive declined to comment earlier this month when asked whether the company had tested the performance of its software on both Intel's and AMD's dual-core chips. An Intel representative confirmed that there are no instructions that specifically enhance the performance of voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) software like Skype's in Intel's dual-core chips. He also said that Skype's software is using a function called "GetCPUID" to permit 10-way conference calls only when that function detects an Intel dual-core processor on start-up.

A Skype representative had no immediate comment on the subpoena. An Intel representative declined to comment.

See more CNET content tagged:
Skype, antitrust, subpoena, dual-core processor, conference call

53 comments

Join the conversation!
Add your comment
Funny
It's funny how Intel has to resort to creative deals to promote their products (or shove them down consumers' throats), instead of actual innovation.
Although I deeply despise Intel, and most of their competitive practices; However, this really isn't a large contributor to their alleged anti-competitive behaviors. If Intel continues to lock in arrangements on a much larger scale (For example, Microsoft Office features exclusively available on Intel processors) then AMD would have some grounds to rebuff the deals. Until then, they shoud just suck it up, and start crafting partnerships of their own- or better yet, create a much stronger consumer awareness campaign. Many people would buy AMD products if they only knew they run faster, quiter, cooler, or just for pc cost savings. Is it me, or does it seem AMD tries to call everything Intel does anticompetitve?
Posted by naterandrews (256 comments )
Reply Link Flag
RE: Funny.
I would say that Intel just gave credence to AMD's lawsuit (from face value of the skype deal).

Personally, I am boycotting skype. I have started using Gizmo (<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.gizmoproject.com/" target="_newWindow">http://www.gizmoproject.com/</a>) for VoIP phone calls. I can't compare how it works to skype, but so far I'm happy.

I know a lot of people are saying that AMD can't compete with Intel so they are suing them (like a lot of other companies these days), but this is one time were we might actually have a very valid lawsuit. It seems to me that Intel can't compete with AMD on performance so they are trying to block resellers from using AMD.

Personally, I am a AMD user, but I have no problem with Intel. I don't think they build junk and I figure they probably do business the same way a lot of other companies do business. Even if they are found guilty of breaking antitrust laws I don't plan on thumbing my nose at them or not looking at their products when I have to buy new computers.
Posted by System Tyrant (1453 comments )
Link Flag
RE
amd is a cry baby as usual &#38; is too incompetent to ink exclusive deals with other VOIP service companies. I utterly despise amd with great passion!!! First place Intel is not even close to a monopoly!!!!! amd excutives decisions are the cause of amd cry baby attitude towards Intel!!!! amd is ticking off possible customers by giving them a subpoena.
Posted by Intelrules (32 comments )
Link Flag
Axis of evil: INTEL, Skype, and DELL
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://sharikou.blogspot.com/2006/02/intel-skype-dirty-plot-and-why-ftc-is.html" target="_newWindow">http://sharikou.blogspot.com/2006/02/intel-skype-dirty-plot-and-why-ftc-is.html</a>
Posted by sharikou (106 comments )
Reply Link Flag
INTEL is quite desperate
Excluding the superior AMD64 processor from Skype 10-way call?

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://sharikou.blogspot.com/" target="_newWindow">http://sharikou.blogspot.com/</a>
Posted by sharikou (106 comments )
Reply Link Flag
And AMD is not?
What do you call Tour de France? Or giving away server chips to ILM and Google? Give me a break. Its all to do with portfolio build up. If Intel adds a new client to their list, whats the big deal?

In your entry you mentioned "Excluding the superior AMD64 processor from Skype 10-way call?" It's not "superior", only "better" and that's only for the time being. I read your blog, and most of the info you give is pretty good. But, with AMD I don't think you read the small print on their PR releases. Everyone in the semiconductor industry knows the marketing BS floating around AMD. Unlike Intel, AMD is a very marketing driven company.

For your info, AMD doesn't make 64 bit architecture chips. These chips are only 32 bit with 64 bit extension. That's no big deal because everyone has that. However, at the moment AMD does make good server chips and thats the only credit I give them. But it would't be for too long for Intel to catch up. When Sun released 8 core (64 bit architecture) chips late last year, the didnt say it was 512 bit because that would be a lie.
Just because you have 2x32 bit chips running in parallel it doesnt mean its 64 bit. But, I guess that the AMD marketing dept. is very well aware of this, and they intentionally manipulate consumer perception.
Posted by domino360 (41 comments )
Link Flag
So obvious that I would have done the same..
hehe, well, it's a no brainer. The perfect opportunity for AMD to highlight unfairness of the existing market situation.

Good! Keep going forward and make better chips!
Posted by nap1805 (12 comments )
Reply Link Flag
RE: amd loser's
Skpe Intel deal is limited time only!!!! Sony does that all the time with their PS2 console games with other game makers!!!!!
Posted by Intelrules (32 comments )
Link Flag
Re: What don't you understand?!?
If a piece of software is writen per x86 instruction set, it should work on any x86 based processor. Simple as that.

You don't lock out other chips from using your software. That's the thing bullies and monopolies do. And in the end, you only end up hurting the consumers.

Imagine if Microsoft released a new feature that only worked with AMD, shutting out everyone that uses Intel based chips. It wouldn't be fair to the people with Intel chips to not be able to use this function.

Keep in mind, that AMD and Intel have a cross licensing agreement. AMD in the past has made chips for Intel when Intel was having production problems... before AMD became a major player.

Software would be in a state of disarray if either Intel or AMD decided to go about branching off from x86. This is a main reason why DEC's Alpha didn't fair well in the market place, as it had to have special versions of NT and software had to be written differently for it. If Alpha was able to use x86, that chip would have done wonders.

I feel that you are so biased in this situation, that no matter how much logic is presented to you, you will be the one not getting it.
Posted by SeizeCTRL (1333 comments )
Reply Link Flag
AMD is a tech leech
I understand you perfectly. You believe that if a company spends money to develop a product, everyone should be able to copy it and use it. Either you believe in intellectual property or you do not - you obviously don't. It is pretty obvious why Intel would not do more software development if this is the case - why spend money on innovation when you are simply giving it to your competitors for free. As I said, AMD is a leech on the tech industry. About time to pour some Conroe salt on the leech and watch it wither and die...
Posted by Bill_Bixby (8 comments )
Link Flag
Re: What don't you understand?!?
I will be biased as long as amd keeps up their cry baby attitude!!!!! amd is too incompetent to go out &#38; get deals from competitors of Skype!!!! It is way too obvious they are out too hurt Intel but in turn it will severly hurt themselves much greater!!!
Posted by Intelrules (32 comments )
Link Flag
Something that everyone's missing is...
the fact that Skype also locks out most Intel chips from the same feature. You must have a dual-core Intel chip or you can simply forget this capability (for now).

Yes, it's probably more a marketing play by Intel than a realistic limitation based on actual hardware testing but honestly, if Intel paid Skype to develop the 10-way capability especially for their own dual-core chips then it's not unreasonable for them to have an "exclusive rights" deal for a limited time. I suspect that if you look at the timeframe for that exclusive deal you'll find that it'll expire before dual cpu chips get a whole lot of traction in the market anyway.

I found the AMD vs Intel innovation thoughts much more interesting. I would like to point out that there's *no* real innovation in x64, the innovation came long ago when Intel took their 8bit processor and made a 16bit one that still ran the 8bit software. They did the same thing to go from 16bit software to 32bit software and it's no great innovation to now extend that same concept to 64 bits.
That's not saying AMD hasn't innovated but no one should be trying to buttress your arguments with the x64, that's simply an architectural extension.
Posted by aabcdefghij987654321 (1721 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Innovation
"I found the AMD vs Intel innovation thoughts much more interesting."

Okay - how about this for innovation:

1.) Intel driving the WiFi alliance and IEEE to get WiFi standard bands around the world so you can make a single SKU and have it pass regulation in all countries
2.) Intel investing in battery, display, other mobile products company to ensure the future mobile platform would be longer lasting in terms of battery power and lighter and more durable.
3.) Intel investing in WiMAX much like WiFi (standards and equipment vendors) to ensure that technology can come to market and enable more people to get online.

I see these innovations and many more by Intel as the only thing driving progress in the computer industry over the last 3 years. All AMD did was bolt on x86-64 which currently has no practical application. They do not create or seed the ecosystem - they simply leech off of Intel. Bash Intel all you want - but then don't buy a thin and light notebook or expect to have over 1.5 hours of battery life - those innovations were funded by Intel.
Posted by Bill_Bixby (8 comments )
Link Flag
What the "f" is Pork, Pork, Pork?
"If Skype releases an x86 compatible product that it claims support for a certain class of hardware, it is their responsibility to maintain their software compatibility."

Yes - they did exactly that. The certain class of hardware is dual core Intel processors. They did not test it on all other platforms so they are not supporting it on all other platforms - why is that so hard for you to understand? You crybaby AMD fanbois are all alike - "Intel Bad, AMD Good"

If AMD wants to have support for 10-way calls, pay the money or lend the headcount to thoroughly validate the product or quit crying about "Intel has the money to test product whaaaa"

Damn, you make me sick....
Posted by Bill_Bixby (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You're not PorkStr????
Porkstr logic code.

Ignore relevant points.

Select things out of context.

Repeat useless irrelevant facilities.

Make crying sounds

Repeat...
Posted by schmide (7 comments )
Link Flag
You're not PorkStr????
Porkstr logic code.

Ignore relevant points.

Select things out of context.

Repeat useless irrelevant fallacies.

Make crying sounds

Repeat...
Posted by schmide (7 comments )
Link Flag
RE
"Yes - they did exactly that. The certain class of hardware is dual core Intel processors. They did not test it on all other platforms so they are not supporting it on all other platforms - why is that so hard for you to understand?"


Had you read the article you would have noticed follow paragraph: "A Skype executive declined to comment earlier this month when asked whether the company had tested the performance of its software on both Intel's and AMD's dual-core chips. An Intel representative confirmed that there are no instructions that specifically enhance the performance of voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) software like Skype's in Intel's dual-core chips. He also said that Skype's software is using a function called "GetCPUID" to permit 10-way conference calls only when that function detects an Intel dual-core processor on start-up."

So we don't know if they tested it or not with AMD 's chips. Intel's own people are saying their isn't any instruction that would be advantagous for Skype in limited 10 way calls to Intel dual core chips.


"If AMD wants to have support for 10-way calls, pay the money or lend the headcount to thoroughly validate the product or quit crying about "Intel has the money to test product whaaaa""

Speaking of cry babies, quit whining crying about them. Since Skype and Intel made a deal that Skype would "optimize" it's code for Intel dual core processors and the software explicitly checks for Intel Chips this could be consider and exclusivity agreement. When your the domainate player on the field such active will tend to put you under the microscope from competitors and the government.
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://news.cbsi.com/When+Intel+calls%2C+Skype+listens/2100-7352_3-6036896.html?tag=nl" target="_newWindow">http://news.cbsi.com/When+Intel+calls%2C+Skype+listens/2100-7352_3-6036896.html?tag=nl</a>
Posted by unknown unknown (1951 comments )
Link Flag
AMD is a disgrace in the semiconductor industry
I cant say that online journalists and business analysts know what they are talking in reference to high tech. All they do is report the PR every company gives them. So why do these people have good salaries if all they do is pass PR information from left to right without analyzing or thinking about it. Unfortunately these people bring a shallow reputation to journalism.

I used to be an AMD sympathizer, and when they released the so called 64 thing I did my homework before purchasing a new system. To my amazement I couldnt believe that almost everything AMD said was just BS. They dont make 64 bit architecture chips. These chips are only 32 bit with 64 bit extension. However, at the moment AMD does make good server chips and thats the only credit I give them. But it would be for too long for Intel to catch up. When Sun released 8 core (64 bit architecture) chips late last year, the didnt say it was 512 bit because that would be a lie.
Just because you have 2x32 bit chips running in parallel it doesnt mean its 64 bit. But, I guess that the AMD marketing dept. is very well of this, and they intentionally manipulate consumer perception. I dont know what you call this in legal terms. Could it be fraud?

Anyway, all you hear lately on AMD is huge laundry list of complains. AMD reminds me of Microsoft. Instead of being a bug bully, they are a small nasty one. This reminds me of the movie The good son. Why they dont focus on R&#38;D instead of mocking everyone? The latest complain about Skype is just a big baby attack, because AMD doesnt want to admit publicly that some of their chips are not as hot as they claim to be. Ups& AMD missed one of their classes.

By bulling everyone into your own over polished marketing campaign, you tend to create enemies. For the time being everyone is silent about the AMD conquest of the world. But, one of these days, one of them will sue AMD for every share they have. Once the wheel start spinning, others will join in and AMD will realize that their past actions will haunt them in the present. AMD& its not wise to dig your own grave. Presently most business analysts blindly support AMD because of the stock price. If it wasnt for that AMD wouldnt have much steam.

I like both AMD and Intel because without competition there is no innovation. But I would like to see AMD as an honest company. Otherwise, I have no compassion for sleazy and shallow behaviors.
Posted by domino360 (41 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Interesting.
Wrong, but interesting.

AMD Chips are 64-bit, but they are a 64-bit extention to the 32-bit chips. They are not a redesigned chip like the Itanium, but then again that hasn't worked out to well for Intel has it.

AMD 64-bit chips are not 2x32-bit. AMD has worked hard at creating a good chip and platform.

I won't argue with anybody that AMD has poor marketing for it's products. I also don't like the fact that AMD feels the need to sue Intel, but from what I've read and seen they might have a legitimate case.

People aren't arguing with statements like yours because they're AMD fanboys or Intel haters, but because you are a lot off base with you technology specification. You could say your off in left field in someone elses ball park.

As far as AMD being or becoming a sleazy company I think you might take a much closer look at how Intel does business before you accuse AMD of such practices. Intel doesn't exactly have the cleanest hands in the world.

In the end all of this is just business for both AMD and Intel. I think of it more as a pissing contest. Intel pushing the limits of the law and AMD will too. I wouldn't be suprised if we don't see Intel suing AMD someday. It's really just business. The only ones taking it personally are the users.
Posted by System Tyrant (1453 comments )
Link Flag
Predicated on FUD
FUD = Fear Uncertainty and Doubt

Unfortunately these people bring a shallow reputation to journalism.

and

"I used to be an AMD sympathizer, and when they released the so called 64 thing I did my homework before purchasing a new system."

If you applied as much effort to research as you did to writing your post you would find out you're totally wrong. Your credibility is poo.

Both AMDs AMD64 and Intels EMT64 are almost identical and have full 64bit registers. Not only can they address much more than the 4gb limit (2gb actual) of 32bit processors, they also extend the register count from 8 to 16 in both general purpose registers and SSE registers. The only real difference is in the pin outs for addressing memory but each chip provides more than enough to fill your banks with memory until your bank account is empty. If you really want to get picky and this is the only real difference, an AMD64 processor can address a Terabyte or 1,099,511,627,776 bytes while an Intel EMT64 can address 64 Gigabytes or 68,719,476,736 bytes while a pure 64 bit processor could address 16,777,216 Terabytes or 16,384 Petabytes or 16 Exabytes or 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 bytes of data.

As for AMD being a crybaby, I suggest you do some more research. You obviously suck at it.

The reason so many people are so quick to jump on Intel for throwing their weight around, is because theyve been doing it for so long without any reprisal. People are so quick to say its a frivolous lawsuit, without even reading the complaint.

So if youre wrong about a few of your points, Id rethink the rest of your points since they seem to be predicated on your misconceptions.
Posted by schmide (7 comments )
Link Flag
Re: Predicated on FUD
You do have some points to make, but there is no reason to be fanatical about a company.

"The reason so many people are so quick to jump on Intel for throwing their weight around, is because theyve been doing it for so long without any reprisal. People are so quick to say its a frivolous lawsuit, without even reading the complaint."

What do you call Tour de France? Or giving away server chips to ILM and Google? Give me a break. Its all to do with portfolio build up. If Intel adds a new client to their list, whats the big deal? And by the way I do read the complaints.

"As for AMD being a crybaby, I suggest you do some more research. You obviously suck at it."

It's not crappy. It's just misinformation. An ordinary user doesn't have the time to read the small print from every tech company. We geeks know what we are talking about. But an ordinary person couldn't care less. Personally I would still buy a AMD server chip, and it's not because of the claims. But because I read the tech specs.
Posted by domino360 (41 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Understanding Monopolies
What do you call Tour de France? Or giving away server chips to ILM and Google? Give me a break. Its all to do with portfolio build up. If Intel adds a new client to their list, whats the big deal? And by the way I do read the complaints.

You obviously know nothing about law and Monopolies. Im not going to try to explain the full nuances of fair trade and economics, but the gist of it is this: You can hype your product all you want, you can partner with anyone you want and give them as many perks for their own personal use, you can give any amount of funds to get your product to market place. However, if you own most of the market (and 50% or more can constitute most of the market) you are held to a higher standard. You cant use your position in the market to artificially enhance your share. You cant artificially lower your prices to undercut your competitors. You cant use heavy handed tactics to force your competitors out of the market. A pure capitalist market will fail as those with deep pockets can always corner the market by undercutting their competitors or forcing exclusive deals with either or tactics (i.e. you deal with us or against us). There must be rules to prevent unfair business practices. Even if you dont own any of the market you can still be accused of Monopolistic practices. This often happens when a government backs a corporation to force its self into the market.

All lawsuits aside, is the Skype Intel deal legal. I would say no and its a very weak no. All Skype would have to do to make the deal legal is offer competing platforms equal access, even if it was for money. By artificially cornering the Skype market Intel can be seen as using Monopolistic tactics. If the facts show that only an Intel Duo Core processor can handle 10 connections, which I doubt, it would be legal. In the end, alone it may as well be legal, but when seen in the light of other alleged facts it looks poor.
Posted by schmide (7 comments )
Link Flag
Interesting Insight
I finally saw a good old friend of mine that came back from a 6 month holiday. I wish I could have that! But, hes a database guru in SAP and he self-contracts his work. So& hes always in demand.
Anyway, I asked him about his adventures, and after a while I decided to ask about the saga with AMD. He laughed and said & you should worry more about video cards, hard drives and RAM. Isnt that line of work you deal with?... Thats true since Im a 3D graphic artist that specializes in rigging bipeds. So I asked him about tech stuff in the countries he visited. In the last 6 months of voluntary leave, he visited 9 countries in Southern &#38; Eastern Europe, 3 countries in North Africa, 4 in Middle East, plus Australia, Philippines, Indonesia, New Zealand and Chile. His reply to my AMD enquiry was & with exception to Australia and New Zealand, most of European countries with the rest of the Third World is pro AMD. Most PC retailers in those countries sell systems only with AMD chips. AMD has almost the entire emerging economies at the palm of their hands& I was surprised at his comment and asked & why is AMD having a baby attack?... His reply was simply & human nature, greed. People and corporations are never happy with what they have. AMD has almost the entire emerging economies at the palm of their hands, and they are guaranteed to make a fortune out of their sell out. AMD is just bitter because they dont have the entire US market covered in black and green logos&this legal dispute is just a PR circus&
So, I rest my comments with this AMD BS. Since Im not fanatic about anything, I wish the very best to both AMD and Intel. The studio where I work worries more about video cards, software upgrades and RAM. And by the way, we use both Linux and Tiger OSs.
Posted by domino360 (41 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

Join the conversation

Add your comment

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Click here to review our Terms of Use.

What's Hot

Discussions

Shared

RSS Feeds

Add headlines from CNET News to your homepage or feedreader.