Bad patents targeted

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Bad patents targeted

Intel Corp. CEO Craig Barrett has finally acknowledged what insiders have been surmising for the last six months. In an interview with London’s Financial Times, Barrett admitted that he regrets the decision to partner with Rambus Inc., a mistake that has cost the chipmaker $hundreds of millions. Not content to lament his technical error (betting on a memory type that has proven not to be cost-effective), Bartel is criticizing Rambus’ business ethics. “We hoped we were partners with a company that would concentrate on technology innovation,” he says, “rather than seeking to collect a toll from other companies.”

This newly admitted dissatisfaction, however, does not explain how Barrett and Intel plan to finesse the company’s contractual obligation to support Rambus DRAM in the Pentium 4, which is due out next month. Intel’s chip architecture VP Paul Otellini, answering a question posed during its 3Q earnings press conference, admitted that Intel is “looking very, very seriously” at using DDR memory on desktop PCs. The unfolding answer to this legal riddle should keep Rambus/Intel watchers occupied for the foreseeable future.

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