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Wednesday, November 16, 2005
VIA to Develop CPUs, Sees Off Intel

Taiwan's VIA Technologies said it would develop its own FSB technology for central processing units (CPUs) and would not hold talks to renew its license with US microchip giant Intel.

"According to agreements on cross-licensing reached (with Intel) in 2003, the CPU licensing will expire in April 2006," said a VIA official. "We have ... committed (ourselves) to developing our own technology and solutions."

VIA said the Intel factor should not produce any major impact on shipments of CPUs when the license expires.

The Chinese-language Economic Daily News earlier had reported that VIA was still in talks with Intel on continuing its licensing agreement for CPUs but no agreement had been reached. But today, the same newspaper indicated that Intel will not extend its patent license to VIA, which ends March 31, 2006.

Intel and VIA reached a settlement in April 2003 over a series of pending patent lawsuits related to chipsets and microprocessors. The companies also had entered into a ten-year patent cross-license agreement covering each company's products. As part of the agreement Intel granted VIA a license to sell microprocessors that were compatible with the x86 instruction set but not pin compatible or bus compatible with Intel microprocessors. Intel further had agreed for a period of three years, not to assert its patents on VIA bus or pin compatible microprocessors. Intel also granted VIA a four year license to design and sell chip sets that would be compatible with the Intel microprocessor bus.

Via announced a Pentium M (Socket 479) pin - compatible processor- the VIA C7 - last May. Officially company did not name the C7 as Pentium M compatible, saying that although the C7-M chips use 479-pin infrastructure, they use V4 bus architecture, not Intel?s AGTL+ bus. The processor is claimed to compete AMD and Intel chipsets in terms of low power consuption and low thermal profile.

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