If you read through the time line, then you might have noticed the Intel P6 bus licensing agreement in November of 1998, the Intel lawsuit in June of 1999, and VIA's response just this month. What happened between November of 1998 and June of 1999? If you take a look at Feb. of 1999, you see that VIA had formed a PC133 group. Yes, Rambus leaves its mark on yet another situation. The whole PC133 initiative went against Intel's plan for Rambus to become the memory for next generation of systems. Intel never intended to support the 133MHz bus, and VIA's current Intel compatible chipsets are offering the 133MHz FSB speed. Now PC133 has a very good chance at becoming the industry standard for desktop and value systems, and Intel has been forced into supporting 133MHz SDRAM with its new 815 chipset.
Intel chose to sue VIA for breach-of-contract and patent infringement in June of 1998. Later, in November of 1999, Intel filed new lawsuits against two of VIA's customers, FIC and Everex. Intel's message was clear: companies that deal with VIA risk Intel's wrath. Nonetheless, Intel's 820 delay caused many OEMs such as HP and IBM to adopt VIA chipsets, and Intel has yet to extend the lawsuits to the big name manufacturers.
In an attempt to grasp at another straw, Intel has also filed a complaint against VIA with the U.S. International Trade Commission. Basically, Intel wants the ITC to ban the import of VIA chipsets. VIA finally answered back this month, refuting Intel's patent claims.
What have we learned here? It's okay to pick on the smaller Taiwanese companies, but you don't mess with Big Blue. Keep that in mind if you ever find yourself ruling an industry with an iron fist.
Wheeling and dealing, VIA has found a way to circumvent Intel's attempt to stop the 133MHz chipsets. VIA entered into an agreement to have National Semiconductor manufacture its chipsets. Chips will branded with the logos of both companies. How does this help VIA? National Semiconductor happens to have a cross-licensing agreement with Intel. VIA's deal will protect all of its chipsets made by National Semiconductor. VIA also has an agreement with S3 that gives VIA free reign in integrating graphics with core logic. Like National, S3 also has a cross-licensing deal with Intel.