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AMD not planning to sell more x86 IP to Chinese firms

Posted on Tuesday, June 04 2019 @ 23:16:26 CEST by

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Last week at Computex, Tom's Hardware spoke to AMD CEO Lisa Su about the trade war with China. One of the things the site learned is that AMD isn't licensing further x86 chip designs to its China-backed joint venture. Three years ago, the company scored a $293 million (plus royalties) deal by licensing its x86 and SoC IP to Chinese chip development companies via a joint-venture called THATIC.

What made the deal stand out was the level of access AMD was giving Chinese companies to its Zen architecture. Su clarified at Computex that THATIC was about a single-generation technology license and that the deal will not be extended to the Zen 2 architecture:
We asked Lisa Su if the company would continue working with the THATIC joint venture amid the U.S.-China trade war, and Su said that while the company is continuing the joint venture, "we are not discussing any additional technology transfers," and elaborated that most of the work took place on the JV's side, while there "is not a lot of work on the AMD side."

"THATIC was a single-generation technology license, and there are no additional technology licenses," Su explained, though she did not clarify if the halt of technology transfers was a direct result of the trade war. That means that the technology transfer, which provided THATIC with access to the first-gen Zen microarchitecture, will not be extended to allow the Chinese chipmaker access to AMD's Zen 2 microarchitecture.



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