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The Courts Hardware

Rambus Loses $4B Antitrust Case 112

Posted by samzenpus
from the take-it-on-the-chin dept.
UnknowingFool writes "In a vote of 9-3, a jury found that Micron and Hynix did not collude to manipulate DRAM prices in a violation of California anti-trust law against Rambus. The jury also ruled that the Idaho based Micron and the South Korea based Hynix did not interfere with Rambus' relationship with Intel. On the first point, Rambus argued the two chip makers conspired to keep Rambus RDRAM prices high while artificially keeping their SDRAM prices low. Micron and Hynix countered that high RDRAM prices were due to technical problems of the design. On the second point, an Intel manager testified that Rambus contract stipulations soured the relationship. The clause that Rambus insisted and would not waive was that to use Rambus RDRAM, Intel had to agree to give Rambus the ability to block Intel processors if Rambus felt Intel was not promoting RDRAM sufficiently. Rambus initiated the suit and the $4B was how much Rambus calculated it lost in profits."
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Rambus Loses $4B Antitrust Case

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  • by swschrad (312009) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @07:42PM (#38080252) Homepage Journal

    it has been well-established that Rambus ran off to patent a developing industry standard in RDRAM, stealing what was to be a public standard. they can rot in hell with 640K, they have it coming. got all the morals of Darl McBride and his little troll company.

  • by Billly Gates (198444) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @07:48PM (#38080316) Journal

    Rambus is or was pretty evil.

    Didn't they go out of business? First they attended the sdram IEE conferences where the design of SDRAM was discussed and how all the memory chip makters would make it back in 1992. Rambus immediately called the headquarters and patented the whole spec on purpose to sue everyone out of existence to force their own proprietary design.

    Then they gave away 25% of their shares to Intel below market value in exchange for using only Rambus ram. Intel woudl get billions in kickbacks if SDRAM went out of existence and gave a financial incentive.

    Then they sued everyone and if it were not for AMD Rambus would be the next monopoly in ram. AMD still used Sdram which many of us preferred over the high latency and $$$ rambus. They lost and thank god. We would be stuck with $200 512 meg ram chips today with just rambus existing and probably no flash drives.

    They were worse than MS in my opinion and filled with greed.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @07:52PM (#38080372)

    That's just due to the nature of transmission lines. To maintain good signal integrity on a multi-drop bus, you'd either have to populate the bus in a certain order or to keep the bus looking the same regardless of how many of the slots are actually populated by having place holders simulating the load. This is not something specific to RDRAM only. You will see these problems on large enterprise systems that uses multiple dimms off the same bus/controller. Not user friendly, that's for sure though.

    You avoid this by limiting the number of slots per bus/controller or just go point-to-point.

  • by Bill Dimm (463823) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @07:56PM (#38080400) Homepage

    Intel had to agree to give Rambus the ability to block shipments of Intel processors if Rambus felt Intel was not promoting RDRAM sufficiently

    Summary gets confusing when you leave words out.

  • by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @08:00PM (#38080438)
    The way I understood it (which does not make it any better) was that when the standard was being developed they said, "We've got this nifty-neat idea that we think would solve this problem in the new standard." Everybody else said, "Yeah, that will work." Then after the standard was established and everybody was working on moving over to it, Rambus said, "Oh, by the way, we have a patent on that essential piece of this new standard and everyone will have to pay us license fees to use it."
    I may be mistaken and your take may be more accurate, but either way, it is good to see such scum lose in court.
  • by thue (121682) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @08:33PM (#38080830) Homepage

    > Then they sued everyone and if it were not for AMD Rambus would be the next monopoly in ram. AMD still used Sdram which many of us preferred over the high latency and $$$ rambus.

    It was not just AMD which used SDRAM. Other companies made chipsets and motherboards which worked with Intel CPUs and used SDRAM.

    As RDRAM failed to match SDRAM technically and price-wise, Intel was saved by their competitors selling Intel-compatible chipsets, for otherwise few people would have bough Intel CPUs. Because Intel was contractually obligated to only ship RDRAM-compatible motherboards.

  • Re:Rambust (Score:2, Informative)

    by gstrickler (920733) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @08:40PM (#38080920)

    Based upon court rulings [wikipedia.org], that's false. Rambus mistake was failure to disclose that the information they were submitting to JEDEC was patent encumbered and then trying to collect patent royalties, not "taking credit for other people's ideas".

  • Re:Rambust (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @08:59PM (#38081084)

    Guess that depends on which court ruling you refer to. The article you mention describes repeated appeals with different outcomes in each case. Neither the courts nor the regulatory bodies have shown themselves capable of grasping or even caring about the technical history of the RAM business. Rather than wikipedia, you might want to check out old issues of EETimes or read postings from the comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware newsgroup in the 1999-2001 timeframe.

  • by klui (457783) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @01:06AM (#38082556)
    The JEDEC did not kick Rambus out of the organization. Rambus participated in the SDRAM talks but they didn't like JEDEC's terms. They filed submarine patents while participating in the standards discussions, withdrew from JEDEC and then started suing various manufacturers.

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