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Intel Is Getting Hostile Towards Qualcomm and Microsoft
Quote:This powerful Qualcomm-Microsoft one-two punch is so potent that PC OEM heavyweights Lenovo, Hewlett-Packard and ASUS have signed on to deliver Windows 10 notebooks and 2-in-1 convertibles powered by Qualcomm's chips.

Until now, Intel sat by [relatively] quietly while all of this unfolded, but the company today took the opportunity to get a bit passive-aggressive while announcing the fast-approaching 40th anniversary of the world’s first x86 microprocessor, the 8086. The majority of the press release reads like a trip down memory lane, hitting highlights like MMX technology, SSE and SSE2 SIMD extensions and AES-NI encryption.

However, it quickly becomes clear that this isn’t just some high-tech birthday commemoration — Intel shifts into serious mama bear mode, with significant legal posturing, touting its willingness to protect its “x86 innovations” and use its legal might to stop any entity that might infringe upon its four-decade-old x86 ISA intellectual property.
And this is where we circle back around to Qualcomm and Microsoft. Intel is clearly not happy about the potential competition that it will face from a new class of lightweight and power-efficient hardware that could adequately satisfy the needs of a large swath of PC customers, from notebooks to 2-in-1 hybrids and more. It's apparent that Intel feels its war chest of over 1,600 patents is likely being infringed upon with Microsoft and Qualcomm’s decision to make native support for ARM (with x86 compatibility) in Window 10 not only a possibility but a reality in retail-available products.
Intel goes on to say that Transmeta tried and ultimately failed in the marketplace, and has been dead and buried for a decade. The company then pivots, almost daring Microsoft and Qualcomm to challenge it by making Windows on ARM devices commercially available:
Qualcomm has provided the following official statement with regards to Intel's comments on x86 architecture:

Quote:Given our recent announcement with ASUS, HP and Lenovo, we found the blog that one of our competitors published on June 8 very interesting. We look forward to the launch of the always connected Windows 10 PC powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Mobile PC Platform later this year. As showcased at Computex 2017 in conjunction with Microsoft, the Snapdragon 835 Mobile PC Platform brings a true always connected PC experience with support for up to Gigabit LTE connectivity and all-day battery life for sleek, thin and fanless designs. This will change the future of personal computing.
Quote:But look at things from Intel’s perspective: Its tactics in the early 1990s and mid-2000s substantially limited AMD’s addressable market share. It may have paid a whopping $1.4 billion fine to the EU to settle antitrust claims, but that’s peanuts compared with the threat Athlon 64 might have represented to Prescott and Smithfield. And Intel isn’t wrong when it talks about the myriad other companies that used to hold x86 licenses (or tried to emulate the ISA), but withered on the vine after their attempts to compete with Santa Clara failed.

The problem is this: System OEMs like Dell, HP, and Asus aren’t in the business of taking chances. When your net margin on hardware is in the 2-4 percent range, you can’t afford bravery. Imagine a hypothetical future in which HP shipped a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 that could run x86 code via emulation, only to be named as a party to a hypothetical lawsuit in which Intel sues Qualcomm and Microsoft for their emulation system. Unless one of its two partners agrees to indemnify it, there’s no way HP would risk a serious lawsuit over the topic.

Asus, Dell, Acer — all of these companies are likely to see the situation similarly. The specter of these kinds of lawsuits has always loomed large over the computer industry. I wouldn’t blame them for Transmeta’s problems; Transmeta’s code-morphing approach and Efficeon architecture were initially innovative, but performance wasn’t strong and Intel quickly moved to address its own power weaknesses through the Pentium M and the development of technologies like SpeedStep.

On the other hand, Intel’s threats of lawsuits over VIA Technologies’ lack of a P4 bus license were the direct cause of the collapse of VIA’s P4 motherboard market share. VIA’s DDR P4 chipset was a fast and affordable option when the P4 was stuck between either SDR RAM (which badly crippled the CPU) and extremely expensive RDRAM. Intel wouldn’t launch its own DDR chipset for the P4 for more than a year after VIA launched its own. But lawsuit threats and licensing disagreements ensured VIA’s addressable market was minimal.
Much of this will turn on what kind of x86 emulation the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 actually performs and how it performs it. Until we know more, we can’t speculate. But Intel has every reason to fight this move. Back when it looked as if ARM and x86 might slug it out head-to-head across the entire market, Intel planned to “win” the fight on performance and efficiency. But with Intel having withdrawn from the smartphone and tablet space, it’s now in the unhappy position of fighting a rearguard action to protect its consumer notebooks and desktops from an encroaching ARM. There have been cracks in the WinTel alliance since smartphones and tablets began gobbling up market share from the PC industry in 2011, but this kind of court case could escalate the feud between Microsoft and Intel.

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