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FOLLOW UP: AMD Clarifies Geode Licensing to China.
UPDATE: Correcting statements regarding the relationship between AMD Athlon (K7) and AMD Geode processors. Adding follow-up link.

Advanced Micro Devices on Monday said it had reached an agreement with the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) and Peking University to license the company’s x86 Geode microprocessor design technology that will enable Chinese development of low-power and embedded computer solutions for consumer and commercial markets.

Sunnyvale, California-based chipmaker said that MOST will facilitate discussions between AMD and Chinese companies receiving access to x86 technology licenses. AMD will earn revenue from licensing the AMD Geode processor to commercial entities designated by Peking University and MOST. Additionally, AMD will have access to intellectual property derived from the licensed technology and options to invest in businesses that emerge from development of AMD Geode processor-based technology in China.

Potentially, such an agreement can mean significant boost to AMD’s revenues. However, it is unclear how Chinese companies are going to produce processors, as the country lacks advanced semiconductor manufacturing facilities. One of the options could be asking certain contract manufacturers, such as ST Microelectronics.

The AMD Geode processor technology is one of the highest-performing processors that U.S. Department of Commerce technology export requirements allow without a license, explained AMD. Currently AMD Geode processors utilize architecture that does not have much to do with the desktop chips from AMD, but still support MMX and 3DNow! technologies. Still, there are AMD Geode NX chips, which architecture resembles that of AMD Athlon XP. But while the latter operate at speeds of up to 2.20GHz, the Geode NX chips work at frequencies below 1.40GHz.

AMD also formally opened its new Greater China Headquarters in the Zhongguancun Science Park. Frequently referred to as China’s Silicon Valley, Zhongguancun is home to a several Chinese information technology companies, research institutes, and colleges and universities.

In addition, AMD executives will sign an agreement with the Chinese Ministry of Education to donate approximately $750 000 during the next three years to extend the deployment of information technology supporting primary education in underdeveloped areas of middle and western China.


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