Intel Engineers Accuse Rambus of Unprofessionalism

Intel: RDRAM Was Flawed, Rambus Engineers Incompetent

by Anton Shilov
08/30/2011 | 10:19 AM

Engineers from Intel Corp. said that Rambus can only blame itself for RDRAM's failure to become the de-facto memory standard and not manufacturers of memory, who refused to ramp up production of RDRAM in the late nineties and the early aughts. In fact, Intel said that the RDRAM technology was flawed and Rambus' engineers were not as competitive as they thought themselves.


Rambus asserts that large manufacturers of dynamic random access memory (DRAM) specifically agreed not to ramp up production of proprietary Rambus RDRAM, for which they needed to pay royalties, in order to make competing open-standard SDR and DDR SDRAM de-facto industrial standards for computer memory. In fact, Intel seriously helped Rambus to promote the RDRAM type among manufacturers, but eventually decided to stick to SDR and DDR. Although Rambus accuses Hynix Semiconductor and Micron Technology of its failures, Intel now claims that RDRAM itself was not competitive.

Paul Fahey, an Intel engineer called to testify in defense of Hynix Semiconductor and Micron Technology at an antitrust trial in state court in San Francisco, told jurors that Rambus’s technology was flawed and its engineers less competent than their peers, reports Bloomberg news-agency. Intel did experienced issues with RDRAM, which lead to product delays and lower than expected performance.

Rambus’s insistence on a so-called guillotine contract also led Intel to conclude its alliance with the company was “doomed,” William Swope, a former Intel strategic planning manager, testified.

The testimony from Mr. Fahey, Mr. Swope and at least three other current and former Intel employees may undermine Rambus’s claim that Hynix and Micron colluded to drive its RDRAM out of the market. Rambus believes it would have earned nearly $3.95 billion should RDRAM become the standard PC memory type.

"Hynix and Micron are doing a great job of using Intel to make their case by showing that the relationship between Rambus and Intel was rocky at best. And they’ve showed that Intel may have been willing to move away from Rambus even had the manufacturers not conspired,” said Michael Cohen, the chief executive officer of MDC Financial Research.