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Rambus Loses $4B Antitrust Case

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the take-it-on-the-chin dept.

The Courts 112

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... (4, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38080220)

The leech that used the courts.

No hard feelings, eh?

.... and it's not the only leech (2, Insightful)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#38080232)

Microsoft comes to mind

Re:.... and it's not the only leech (5, Informative)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#38080316)

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.

Re:.... and it's not the only leech (5, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38080456)

Rambus must have some sort of war chest for suits and appeals. They've been at it for over a decade. By appearance it seems they're developing Lawyer Technology rather than memory technology.

While the potential of a $12 billion or even $4 billion pay off might be considered mouthwatering, they'd probably have made that kind of money by now if they were putting all their money into R&D, manufacturing and licencing of revolutionary technologies.

It may look like thinking bit, but it's really very negative, thinking small.

Rambus is not a leach. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38081554)

Rambus had also accounts with Sun Microsystems to integrate Rambus technology into their memory infrastructures. Also, when HP was making it's revision to their holding of Compaq's DEC Alpha architecture they achieved godly bandwidth that excelled over architectures of Intel and AMD. HP never released any RECENT systems using Rambus. It's like nothing makes the light of day when it comes to Alpha (ever since Intel Itanium was forced on everyone). What we are seeing from Rambus today is their critique over COMPETING monopolists. Sadly in this patent SYSTEM it is being used to assert violence on 3rd-world countries to corner a market. I would blame Intel for losing all the diversity in computer architectures. This past 15 years has been the destruction and liquidation of all in-house chip fabrications and competing lines of computer systems at the hands of what appears to be agents of other corporations becoming CEO double-agents. It's truly sickening. Homebrew computing has never been the same.

Re:.... and it's not the only leech (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38081992)

Rambus is every PS3 and PS2 sold. PS3 uses XDR RAM from rambus and the PS2 just uses regular RDram.

Thanks, Sony.

Re:.... and it's not the only leech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38082372)

You can't blame Sony for choosing memory that suits its applications best.

Re:.... and it's not the only leech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38082970)

The rdram on the PS2 was shit, very high latency. Now the XDR was much better. Similar latency to sdram and over 20GB/s bandwidth per bank of which there were two. Unfortunately only the GPU has full R/W bandwidth to all the memory. The CPU can read from the video bank at a measly 16MB/s and it fully stalls the CPU while doing so. Full cache miss per DWORD for the win!

Re:.... and it's not the only leech (3, Insightful)

klui (457783) | more than 2 years ago | (#38082526)

If SCO can last nearly a decade I'm not surprised Rambus's lawsuits would last as long if not longer.

Re:.... and it's not the only leech (5, Interesting)

TheWanderingHermit (513872) | more than 2 years ago | (#38080642)

You've described it pretty well. One of their earliest cases was in Richmond, VA and I sat in to videotape a lot of the depositions. (That's how long it's been going on -- VHS and SVHS were still in use when they started suing everyone. That was around 2000-2001.)

They admitted in depositions they were in on the meetings when the standards were drawn up and had no reason for not objecting to designs that were supposedly theirs.

I have to admit, the Rambus lawyers were polite and easy to work with. The lawyers for the other company (a German firm) were mostly from one New York office and were just plain rude and nasty.

I remember one deposition in particular where there was a top memory expert giving testimony and they asked him about flip-flops and if they were memory. They (the Rambus lawyers) were trying to get him to say a flip-flop was a one bit memory and he kept saying, "Under certain conditions." The lawyer was stumped and started getting worse and worse (the only time I saw a Rambus lawyer start to get nasty) because he not only couldn't get him to give the answer they wanted, but the lawyer had no understanding of what any Electronics 101 student would know. I had a hard time not laughing and shaking the camera during the time that topic was being covered. It was pretty clear to me that lawyer had not fully prepared and didn't know at all what the topic was with flip-flops. I would have loved to have stayed in that one all day, since I figured it would only get more technical and confuse the lawyer even more, but someone took my place so I could finish some editing.

Re:.... and it's not the only leech (1)

loyukfai (837795) | more than 2 years ago | (#38082122)

This has been going for 10-year, but unlike IBM vs SCO, there seems to be no Groklaw to explain the situation...

Can I assume what's on rambus.org is full of FUD...?

One thing still baffles me, if the memory makers were sure that Rambus had no ground in court, why did some of them still coughed up millions of dollars to them...?

I know sometimes having a settlement is cheaper than going all the way through litigation, and sometimes acting shrewdly does not necessarily mean illegal, but still...

Could it be that both sides have had their mischief...?

Cheers.

Re:.... and it's not the only leech (5, Informative)

thue (121682) | more than 2 years ago | (#38080830)

> 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:.... and it's not the only leech (1)

Moryath (553296) | more than 2 years ago | (#38081428)

In some ways, I'm sad it didn't work out. The AMD chips for the time were a LOT better anyways. Even today, unless you're on the bleeding-fucking-edge $900/chip range, AMD is better bang for your buck. If Intel hadn't been able to force companies to be "Intel chip" with 3rd party motherboards for decent RAM, we might have seen AMD actually break the Intel beige-box monopoly.

Re:.... and it's not the only leech (1)

DnaK420 (2468202) | more than 2 years ago | (#38081560)

http://www.cpubenchmark.net/high_end_cpus.html [cpubenchmark.net] Check out the 2600k 4 core compared to the next amd 8150 8core. 2k diff for 50 dollars? Intel has AMD stomped for a while. This coming from AMD owner 2000-2004.

Re:.... and it's not the only leech (1)

gumbi west (610122) | more than 2 years ago | (#38082850)

Its a 20% seed increase for 40% more. For almost every AMD on that graph, you can't find a Intel above it for a price even close to it. But... AMD does not have anything at the top. He said $900 and it is more like $300, but big deal.

Re:.... and it's not the only leech (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38081618)

Oh AMD still have some sweet chips in the game, there is a reason why they had to slow down their desktop A series production to crank up the mobile and that was because they were selling their brazos chips faster than they were able to crank them out. They simply didn't see the uses other than netbooks and weren't prepared for all these all in one and HTPC units using brazos as well. if you haven't tried one they are really nice, great battery life, low power, built in Radeon GPU that accelerates pretty much any video format, great little chips. I was impressed enough I sold my Athlon II wind to pick up a EEE brazos and just love the thing, were else can you get a dual core netbook that does 1080p and gets 6 hours on a battery with 8Gb of RAM and a carrying case for $350?

On the desktop side I'm advising my customers to do as I'm doing, which is stick with Deneb and Thuban and wait out the A series. it looks like the A series bulldozer is gonna be another Phenom I, where they need a generation to work out the kinks. Also since the BD arch is really designed for the upcoming hybrid core with the new Radeon vector units, as opposed to the VLIW based Radeons of today, it makes sense to let them switch to the new design and work out the kinks. By the time software catches up enough that the Deneb and thuban are not cutting it the chips after Piledriver will be out and the boards for the new socket will be cheap and plentiful. I personally am gonna wait until after the holidays and then buy myself a Thuban 95w as a BDay prezzie for myself. Do I REALLY need 6 cores? No but I wants it precious, I wants it!

As for TFA RDRAM was a dead end design and Rambus used their spot in the SDRAM standards committee to submarine as many patents as they could before becoming uber patent trolls. It was expensive, it had to have matching chips or a dummy terminator, it was hard to scale, if Rambus hadn't submarined those patents they would have gone the way of EDO memory. Notice how the only ones that use Rambus tech anymore are the consoles who use tiny amounts of it as fast buffers, simply because the crap is too costly to load up the machine with.

Just another example of why we need patent reform IMHO. When companies can make their living simply by trolling instead of actually making products to me that is a sign the system is broken.

Re:.... and it's not the only leech (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#38081882)

The Windows 7 cpu scheduler screws up the threading with the bulldozers. The way the cpu architecture is setup where the cache is shared and a miss will cause a big delay between the cores. It can be done better without Windows 7 trying to but the threads on the same CPU as the father process.

Windows 8 and Linux will show the bulldozers about 20% faster. This was from another slashdotter so I do not know how reliable that is. The thunderbirds have a nice branch prediction that takes of multithreading internally but WIndows 7 is tuned for older intel cpus.

Ihave a phenom II, and right now it is better than a bulldozer. Its age is beginning to show compared to the icore 5s and Sandy bridge processors. Best bang for the buck but in 4 years it will be very obsolete and the bulldozer wont be much better if WIndows 8 is the next Vista and people flock to Windows 7. God, I hope not as I support IE 6 still, and do not want to repeate with IE 8 in 2019. Hopefully Windows 8 will have an improved desktop mode or at least mouse friendly tiles. It is weird unswipping the screen with a mouse compared to my driod. I guess we will find out next summer

Re:.... and it's not the only leech (2)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38082894)

Sorry friend but i'm betting Win 8 is Vista the second coming. people were curious about win 7 but when i showed them win 8 all i got was HATRED that made ME look like XP.

As for Phenom II the dirty little secret the chip manufacturers don't want you to know is except for a few niche roles chips have been beyond "good enough" for quite some time. i love to game and frankly the ONLY reason I'm going to Thuban is because it is cheap and I like to transcode and the software i use scales with CPUs. but for gaming its always GPU not CPU bound and for just about every other job the CPU sits there twiddling its thumbs waiting on work. I'm a serious multitasker and frankly the ONLY time I slam my Deneb is transcoding, everything else I have power to spare.

So unless your board is shot or your board simply can't take a decent amount of RAM, say 4Gb to 8Gb, honestly there really isn't any reason ATM to go A series on the desktop. In every bench I've seen Thuban and often Deneb are neck and neck or even beating A series, and when you figure in the 20-30% premium for the chips and boards? not worth it. The mobile side is another story, with Brazos costing atom money but besting ION while using less power and having less heat. Oh and the chips hold 8Gb of RAM which is damned sweet for a 3 pound netbook.

I'd say get you a Deneb or even better Thuban, load your board with RAM, and enjoy. I've got mine loaded with 8Gb of RAM and honestly the games I'm playing hasn't even required the replacement of my HD4850 yet, so why switch and pay the early adopter penalty? you are still supporting AMD by buying Phenom II or Brazos.

Re:.... and it's not the only leech (1)

f()rK()_Bomb (612162) | more than 2 years ago | (#38083066)

Win8 should really have been its own tablet os, it's a disaster of a thing to use on a desktop, and I was well excited after win7 :/

Re:.... and it's not the only leech (2)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#38083166)

Ypur old posts were very critical of Windows 7 and when it came out it wasn't that bad.

Win 8 is still in development so I hope MS comes to its senses as it is testing the METRO tile which would be great on a tablet. Ars Technica had a story where MS wanted to get rid of the start button so I dread you might be right. As of today no one should still be running XP. I mean come on! Vista with it being bad and many years late taught the accountants and even average Joes that using obsolete browsers and operating systems are a good investment and if Windows 7 becomes a 10 year OS it will be norm for now on. I do not want to wait until 2019 to enjoy HTML 5 because of IE 8/win 7 being the 2010s equilivant of 2000s XP/IE 6, and would hate develiping a cool html 5 site for phones only because win 8 bombs and freaks 1/3 of the population and all of corporate america out making the rest of us suffer.

If even MS includes a more friendly mouse aware Windows 8 where apps go into a dekstop mode it would be more tollerable. Windows 8 is even lighter and can run on less hardware than Windows 7. It is a great OS with a medocre desktop bolted on top. I still hope the final builds will be better as it is not even beta yet.

I fear you may be right and Windows 9 will put the start menu back on. We will see if MS is smart as they have R&D and usability testing unlike Gnome which threw theirs out from Sun in Gnome 2. Vista, was the oddball as Balmer/Gates didn't care as long as it was out fearing people would stick with Xp. Their fears proved true. I will keep my Phenom II as it has a nice HD 5750 on the asus and is a great value. It runs Wow fine and the upcomming Star Wars the Old Republic. I need to use it for work like running VMs and photoshop and it will suit for years to come. If I were buying today I would pick an Icore 5, or llamo for a notebook. Bulldozers are not good and ghz per ghz the phenom II offer a better value under w7 if you have a video card.

Re:.... and it's not the only leech (1)

Guppy (12314) | more than 2 years ago | (#38081892)

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.

It wasn't long after this, that Intel started forcing 3rd party chipset makers out. No such thing as gratitude in this business, I guess.

Re:.... and it's not the only leech (2)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38082360)

Rambus is or was pretty evil.

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.

And the share market punished them today [nasdaq.com] . Like really punished. Opening Stock price $18.04. Closing stock price $7.11. That's a 60% drop, and when you consider that the company (was) worth in the billions, that is a massive massive drop for a single day.

Re:.... and it's not the only leech (2)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#38082692)

Rambus must have some sort of war chest for suits and appeals. They've been at it for over a decade. By appearance it seems they're developing Lawyer Technology rather than memory technology.

Didn't they go out of business?

Unfortunately, not only are they still in business, they're still licensing designs.

In fact, maybe you have some Rambus-using stuff in your house, and maybe it was used in the past day.

And not only does Rambus have licensing revenue coming in for the near future, they may also be set for the next 10 years or so too.

Three characters: P, S, and 3.

10 years ago, when RDRAM was on its way out, Rambus picked up a licensor that was worth WAY more than all the RDRAM modules ever sold. The most popular console of that generation, the PlayStation 2, had 32MB of RDRAM.

The PS3, has 512MB of non-shared memory, split as 256MB of GDDR3 for the RSX, ... and 256MB of QDR-DRAM, basically the next-gen RDRAM, licensed from Rambus. Certainly while the PS3 is not the most popular console, it still has respectable sales volume, and each PS3 sold means a little more money in Rambus' bank account.

Now, there's no guarantee that the PS4 will use RDRAM, but it's a possibility, which would mean Rambus has continuous source of income for the life of the PS4. Maybe they can extend it to the PS5, maybe.

Re:.... and it's not the only leech (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38084020)

Three characters: P, S, and 3.

and before that, N, 6, and 4. remember how much it cost to add another 4MB of RDRAM to that system?

Re:.... and it's not the only leech (1)

CuteSteveJobs (1343851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38082942)

Thanks for that summary, Billy. Well said!

This verdict is proof the system works, then same way it works when it dismisses any Patent lawsuit. I mean it.

Re:.... and it's not the only leech (3, Insightful)

i_b_don (1049110) | more than 2 years ago | (#38080328)

Please, MS has NOTHING on Rambus when it comes to using the courts.

d

Re:.... and it's not the only leech (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38080630)

Please, MS has NOTHING on Rambus when it comes to using the courts.

d

Didn't they slip SCO a few bucks to keep them going, though?

I only ask, I'm not accusing.

Re:.... and it's not the only leech (1)

kiddygrinder (605598) | more than 2 years ago | (#38080736)

a company that microsoft invests money in invested a couple mill in SCO, that's just from my dodgy memory tho.

Re:.... and it's not the only leech (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38081368)

Funny, my memory says that a few ex- or higher-up Microsofties are part of a fund that invested in SCO.

And if the Halloween Documents mean anything, once a Microsoftie, always a Microsoftie.

Re:.... and it's not the only leech (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38081718)

Besides doing a fat license deal, you're probably thinking about Baystar [groklaw.net] . Though there were others.

Re:.... and it's not the only leech (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38081902)

Besides doing a fat license deal, you're probably thinking about Baystar [groklaw.net] . Though there were others.

Baystar was the one - Gads, I've been following this since I had no grey hairs, not I've got a whole mess of them.

Not a big loss (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38080242)

They lost four dollars and a capital B it seems.

Re:Not a big loss (1)

RoknrolZombie (2504888) | more than 2 years ago | (#38080446)

You're right...and since they only have a little "b" in their name, good luck trying to collect!!!

Re:Not a big loss (1, Insightful)

MichaelKristopeit401 (1976824) | more than 2 years ago | (#38080600)

they didn't lose anything... they simply didn't gain the $4,000,000,000 that they claimed was owed them, but courts determined wasn't.

the editors of this internet web site chat room message board are very irresponsible.

slashdot = stagnated.

Re:Not a big loss (1)

MichaelKristopeit401 (1976824) | more than 2 years ago | (#38081478)

score:-1, insightful.

slashdot = stagnated

let us not forget Rambus stole it (4, Informative)

swschrad (312009) | more than 2 years ago | (#38080252)

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.

Re:let us not forget Rambus stole it (2)

TWX (665546) | more than 2 years ago | (#38080292)

I don't honestly know if the technology was worthwhile anyway. I mean, you had to use friggin' placeholders in memory slots that had no ram in them. That's a stupid, sophomoric mistake in my opinion. I could understand such in development, but once one goes production to keep your technology that screwed up... *sigh*

Re:let us not forget Rambus stole it (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:let us not forget Rambus stole it (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38084026)

Or by having the same hardware on the motherboard, which would have made RDRAM systems even MORE expensive. So instead, they abstracted the cost away... which actually costs the user MORE money in the long run if they need them, but costs them nothing if they don't. And since RDRAM is fastest in pairs just like most memory is in practice (due to the width of memory buses and the width of memory units) it was pretty much a non-issue.

Re:let us not forget Rambus stole it (5, Informative)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:let us not forget Rambus stole it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38080578)

You're pretty much right. They participated in JEDEC's DDR standards setting meetings, and then turned around and demanded a license from everyone implementing the standard.

Re:let us not forget Rambus stole it (4, Interesting)

Solandri (704621) | more than 2 years ago | (#38082314)

That's pretty much it. JEDEC required all participants to disclose any patents or pending patents on technology being discussed. That was the whole point of JEDEC - so memory manufacturers could weigh the technical merits of ideas against their licensing costs, and decide together whether or not it should go into the next standard. Rambus did not disclose, causing some ideas they had (secretly) patented to wind up in the standard under the assumption that there was no licensing cost.

The courts actually found that Rambus was in breach of contract for violating JEDEC's membership guidelines this way. The problem was, that was just a contractual violation, not a legal one. JEDEC's guidelines did not specify what sort of punishment should befall any company which did secretly patent the technology under discussion. So even though RAMBUS was guilty of breach of contract, the only recourse left to JEDEC was to kick Rambus out. The patents, despite being obtained through or having their importance magnified by deceit, were still legally sound.

Basically, JEDEC relied on the honor code for its members to behave. Rambus took advantage of that to secretly misbehave and screw everyone over. Unfortunately, the anti-trust investigations into memory price fixing came soon after, and under the two-front assault most of the memory manufacturers settled with Rambus, which allowed them to drag this on for as long as it has.

Re:let us not forget Rambus stole it (3, Informative)

klui (457783) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

About time (2)

jishak (571556) | more than 2 years ago | (#38080298)

I wish Karma would come back and wipe out all the trolls! I will settle for it one at a time. Perhaps the MAFIAA's will be next. I made it a point never to buy anything with RDRAM in it after those lawsuits RAMBUS filed. Maybe if we are lucky they will go RAMBUST.

Re:About time (3, Interesting)

TWX (665546) | more than 2 years ago | (#38080336)

Unfortunately RIAA/MPAA has a lot better claim to what they enforce against, mainly because are society is stupid and allows someone to own their cultural contributions much longer than they deserve to. 20, 30 years, okay. I can see that. In perpetuity? That's wrong.

At least the motion picture industry is getting smart and releasing movies cheap. There are DVDs available retail new for $5, Blu-ray for $10. The RIAA doesn't understand that so much music is pirated because people don't want to pay more for the movie soundtrack than they do for the movie itself. It's a lot easier to put up with the MPAA when the cost to attempt to thwart is just about as high as the cost to just buy the damn disc, if one factors time into account.

Re:About time (1)

Targon (17348) | more than 2 years ago | (#38083898)

At least the MPAA tends to have a valid point in going after movie pirates. The number of people, and the expense that goes into making a movie, even one that flops is rather high. To make one recording is NOT terribly expensive in comparison, and the person or people behind the production generally get far less than the "record label". If people actually thought about the cost to produce something, they would probably still make illegal copies of music, while they might just buy the DVD or legally stream the movie they want to watch.

Poor RAMBUS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38080302)

Such good tech but could never be competitive. Will be a shame when they fold.

Rambus lost $4 Billion suit... (4, Insightful)

demonbug (309515) | more than 2 years ago | (#38080332)

And there was much rejoicing.

Couldn't have happened to a more schmuck company (1)

i_b_don (1049110) | more than 2 years ago | (#38080344)

nuff said

Thats one hell of a clause... (4, Insightful)

Local ID10T (790134) | more than 2 years ago | (#38080350)

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.

Wow. I'd have told them to F off too...

Re:Thats one hell of a clause... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38080608)

Rambus was evil from the getgo. Intel just got greedy.

This is how supply and demand really works, if your kit is too expensive, you go use someone elses kit. It was a bloody winfall for AMD, but they didn't capitalize on it in time and it wasn't until the x64 instructions that AMD suddenly was the better option until Intel came out with it's core i5/i7 chips, effectively taking the only remaining performance point in AMD's favor (memory controller in the cpu.)

AMD , as far as CPU's go, has nothing in it's favor unless it can beat Intel on power/thermal design. Intel doesn't make (good) graphics chips, so AMD 's GPU's are still the winning choice in 2/3rds of the market. But that's more of a "Intel catchup from a 10 year lead AMD has" in every PC I've had I've replaced the GPU twice for every one time I've replaced the CPU. When you integrate the GPU, that's a wasted piece of the CPU that doesn't get used half way through the life of the machine.

I don't think I'll ever end up buying AMD CPU's again until it makes 3Ghz 8 core CPU's that consume 45 watts. Likewise with Intel, I won't buy any of the TDP>50watt cpu's because at full power the 95+ ones consume a third of the power available. If you want to run a SLI setup(2 x HD6990 =500watts each,) people in the US/Canada/Japan are going to be fucked over buying all the top parts because a 15A circuit won't suffice anymore.

The joke about bitcoin farms being confused for grow-ops is getting pretty close to reality. Get the thermal envelope of the entire system to under 700 watts.

Anyhow, RAMBUS got greedy, Intel got greedy, Intel had to throw out the entire Pentuim 4 architecture in the end and pick up where the Pentium 3 left off. Rambus products are only found in PS3's now, and at the next console cycle they'll have no customers at all.

And what did we learn from this crapfest?

Don't be evil, Don't be greedy, because doing so invites competition to eat your lunch.

Re:Thats one hell of a clause... (4, Interesting)

ChrisMaple (607946) | more than 2 years ago | (#38081304)

AMD had superior processors for several years. Motherboard and name brand computer manufacturers were too slow to incorporate AMD's product, and to some extent AMD was production limited. Part of the reluctance of computer manufacturers to shift to AMD was due to (illegal) contracts restricting the manufacturers to exclusive use of Intel processors.

By the time AMD had gained significant market share, Intel was starting to recover from its design blunders and challenging AMD's performance dominance. For AMD, the gain in market share had come too late to enable them to make the gains stick.

Intel has the cash and intelligence to stay a generation ahead in silicon technology. For Intel to lose the performance lead again, they'd have to make a clusterfuck like the P4 again.

Re:Thats one hell of a clause... (1)

chriso11 (254041) | more than 2 years ago | (#38081412)

You are forgetting about how Intel used illegal methods to block AMD from sockets. These include monetary incentives to ONLY sell Intel. Look at how much money Intel funneled to Dell.

Re:Thats one hell of a clause... (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38081852)

That is because they bribed the living shit out of the OEMs, so badly one likened it to "cocaine" and dell during the price wars had several quarters where their ONLY profits were Intel kickbacks.

As for the other poster than having the GPU means a "wasted" GPU when you add a discrete? Not so as the new units will function similar to hybrid crossfire now and when they switch over to vector graphics from VLIW they will be able to just about replace the FP unit in the chip with a much simpler one and have the GPU do FP. this will mean that currently when you have a discrete the GPU on chip can be used for physics, and when it switches to vector advanced AI and other routines will be able to be run by the on chip GPU while the discrete does the drawing.

as for TFA? Couldn't happened to a shittier company, yay!

Re:Thats one hell of a clause... (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38081804)

Don't be evil, Don't be greedy, because doing so invites competition to eat your lunch.

There's two ways to try winning a horse race, one is to run the fastest.

The other, Rambus way, is to attack all the other horses.

Re:Thats one hell of a clause... (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38084048)

It was a bloody winfall for AMD, but they didn't capitalize on it in time

Yes they did. This was the Athlon vs P4. Clock for clock, the Athlon was faster. Comparing equal cost processors, the Althon was faster on most workloads. And RAMBUS meant that for the same cost you could get the AMD system with twice as much RAM. This was when most of the big OEMs (Dell being the exception) ditched their exclusive contracts with Intel and started offering AMD systems.

But I saved $!! (2)

cvtan (752695) | more than 2 years ago | (#38080374)

But I saved $4 billion by not using RDRAM in my home PC!

Imagine (-1, Troll)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#38080384)

Imagine a world without patents.
Imagine a world without patent claims.
Imagine a world without patent litigation.
Imagine a world without copyright litigation even.
Imagine not having to hire all the lawyers to fight these claims.
Imagine not having to waste your time thinking about ways to go around patents (if you ever had to do this).
Imagine all the resources that could be freed and used productively.

Now understand that without a gun to your head, that is put there by the governments of the world, these problems wouldn't even be possible.

Re:Imagine (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38080552)

Now understand that without a gun to your head, that is put there by the governments of the world, these problems wouldn't even be possible.

Derp derp, derp derka derp derp der derr.

Derpa?

Re:Imagine (1)

GumphMaster (772693) | more than 2 years ago | (#38080660)

...
Imagine a world without Slashdot, for surely, without this stuff as fodder you'd be able to hear a pin drop in here.

Re:Imagine (1)

rim_namor (2454342) | more than 2 years ago | (#38080708)

this place is quite silent already. There are no voices of reason and the rest don't matter anyway.

Re:Imagine (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 2 years ago | (#38081024)

That world existed. People lived to be about 40 and life basically sucked for everyone but the aristocrats.

Re:Imagine (1)

rim_namor (2454342) | more than 2 years ago | (#38081030)

Imagine a world, where people weren't in fact sheep and could think for themselves for a moment.

Clarification of Summary (4, Informative)

Bill Dimm (463823) | more than 2 years ago | (#38080400)

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.

Re:Clarification of Summary (1)

znerk (1162519) | more than 2 years ago | (#38081082)

The the impotence of proofreading, by Taylor Mali [youtube.com]

"... There are several missed aches your spell checkhov can't can't catch catch; for instant: if you leave out word, your spell checker won't put it in you..."

Re:Clarification of Summary (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38081148)

He had to leave those words out because he left so many useless ones in.

Seriously, this could have been a one-liner and a link.

Re:Clarification of Summary (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 2 years ago | (#38081670)

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

I really wonder if this clause was indeed based on Rambus feelings, rather than hard quantifiable objective numbers.

For instance, it would have been easy to say part of the deal is that Intel needs to spend 4 million dollars by the end of Q4 on advertising our RDRAM, otherwise the penalty is that you give us the right to stop your chip shipments.

Obviously, no one should ever agree to a legal piece of paper that accepts punitive damages that are based purely on the other person's/corporation's elusive feelings.

Re:Clarification of Summary (1)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 2 years ago | (#38083170)

I imagined every RDRAM memory stick having a little antenna from which it would receive coded instructions from Rambus HQ to block Intel processors or any software Rambus didn't like.

Rambus is evil, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38080404)

They kept licensing fees very high, so why would their chips also not be high? I remember Rambus being more then twice the price and no one being able to negotiate with Rambus for cheaper prices. I had to change Rambus motherboards out to SDRAM motherboards to upgrade customers memory economically.

Re:Rambus is evil, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38080672)

I had to buy an entire second hand server just to upgrade the server at my old work. it was cheaper to buy the whole server than an extra 1GB ram. We then had to throw out the extra 2 processors and motherboard

Re:Rambus is evil, (1)

znerk (1162519) | more than 2 years ago | (#38081116)

I had to buy an entire second hand server just to upgrade the server at my old work. it was cheaper to buy the whole server than an extra 1GB ram. We then had to throw out the extra 2 processors and motherboard

... and here I was about to mention that the "upgrade path" available a few years ago for one of my customer's system when he wanted to make his Dell/Intel/Rambus machine better was a choice between buying $600 worth of Rambus, or $600 worth of new machine (dual-core instead of single-core, 10x the hard drive space, twice the DDR of the "upgraded" Rambus, with a DVD burner instead of a cdrom, and a fairly nice graphics card)... guess which he purchased?

Back in my day.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38080428)

Rambus was relevant as discussion fodder on Slashdot, and Slashdot was relevant in some way as well.

Rambust (0)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 2 years ago | (#38080466)

Yes, they've acted in bad faith, repeatedly. And they've misused the courts. They are essentially a patent troll.

However, all the RAM you use is derived in part from Rambus technologies. SDRAM and it's descendants (DDR, DDR2, DDR3, GDDR, etc.) all derive some of their technology from Rambus technologies. So, hate their behavior (they've certainly earned your hatred), but they have helped to advance the industry.

Re:Rambust (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38080640)

Nothing used today came from Rambus. Anything they had they which was different from what JEDEC was already planning for has withered and died. They didn't know how to design RAMs. They were a just patent troll company from Los Gatos whose only real purpose was to hijack the open standards efforts of the RAM industry. Nothing in modern RAMs bears ANY resemblance to an RDRAM, unless you count the obvious use of differential signaling that had been contemplated by JEDEC for a decade before Rambus existed. Oh, wait, they both used transistor memory cells as well. Surprised Rambus didn't manage to get the gullible patent office to give them a patent for that as well.

Re:Rambust (0)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 2 years ago | (#38080754)

Rambus != RDRAM. RDRAM was one of their technologies. But so was synchronous memory transfer, differential signaling, and possibly some other technologies that are very much in use today.

Re:Rambust (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38080804)

Again, all of that was in pre-existing products or draft JEDEC standards. None of it was patented until Rambus came along and took credit for other people's ideas.

Re:Rambust (1, Informative)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 2 years ago | (#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 (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Rambust (2)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#38081658)

Yes, because nobody understands the minute details of modern computer technology like judges...

Re:Rambust (2)

slashfoxi (610738) | more than 2 years ago | (#38081300)

It had all been done before, but Rambus added the idea of doing it -- for RAM!

A protocol bus -- for RAM!
Terminated, controlled-impedance transmission lines -- for RAM!
Differential (actually threshold-based pseudo-differential) signaling -- for RAM!
Source synchronous clocking -- for RAM!
Delay-locked loops -- for RAM!
Bidirectional signalling using (current-mode drivers) -- for RAM!

When I worked there I patented the principle of linearity when it is used in time-domain simulations -- for RAM! (One of the less valuable but most crazy ideas.)

All that silliness aside, I don't think Rambus' 2.5% royalty justifies the price premium for RDRAM. However, the fancy wafer-scale packaging, the impossibility of production testing at 800Mbps in the year 2000 and the horrific heat generated by those 28-ohm current-mode drivers was enough to kill the technology.

Re:Rambust (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38081754)

It's been 20 years since I first heard about the Rambus business model while I was working at Apple, and in all the years since I've never come across a more succinct or funny description of their modus operandi. And, remember that Rambus sues anyone who uses any of those techniques on CPUs, GPUs, or what-have-yous. So, it's not just RAM makers in asia, but anyone who interfaces to RAM, such as Nvidia. I wonder if the tablet and cell phone guys using ARM chips with DRAM have to pay royalties to RAMBUS?

Re:Rambust (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38080690)

SDRAM and it's descendants (DDR, DDR2, DDR3, GDDR, etc.) all derive some of their technology from Rambus technologies.

Key word there: "some". Rambus dropped out of the DDR JEDEC working group, since they would have had to disclose all the other pending submarine patents they had on the technology. Now they pretty much just squeeze profits out of those patents - they should go DIAF ASAP.

Re:Rambust (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38080782)

Bzzzt, wrong!

All Rambus did was patent the SDRAM specification that was already being worked on. They attended the SDRAM meetings then patented everything they heard. They were nothing more than leeches attempting to game the system for profit.

So yeah, maybe SDRAM uses stuff that is patented or owned by Rambus but Rambus stole it all from SDRAM in the first place.

Re:Rambust (2, Interesting)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 2 years ago | (#38080824)

Wrong. Rambus submitted much of the SDRAM specifications to the group, they didn't steal it from the group. They failed to disclose they they were seeking a patent on the technologies, and as because of that failure to disclose, have lost much of the revenue they might have made had they properly disclosed it.

Re:Rambust (2)

ChrisMaple (607946) | more than 2 years ago | (#38081408)

If they had disclosed it, the standard would probably have been different. Standard making groups generally don't want to base their standard on a technology owned by a single company.

Re:Rambust (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38081486)

But they didn't properly disclose it, because if they had, everyone else would have told them to get bent. They wouldn't have made shit for money if they would have been up front about it from the beginning. RAMBUS will be extremely lucky if following this fiasco, they aren't sued for everything they made (plus damages) for their funny business involving SDRAM. Whether they contributed to the SDRAM spec or not is pretty much irrelevant. Nobody likes in 'indian-giver'.

Re:Rambust (4, Insightful)

billcopc (196330) | more than 2 years ago | (#38080820)

They helped to advanced the industry by patenting once-public ideas ? I cannot agree with that statement on any level.

If anyone should be accused of articially maintaining high RAM prices, it's Rambus. Their trolling and subsequent royalty racket has cost the world far more than 4 billion, not to mention the costly and frustrating period where Intel boards exclusively supported Rambus. That move alone set the SDRAM industry back a few years.

Rambus is the perfect example of how NOT to run a tech company. Leave IP theft to the Chinese, at least they don't patent the stuff they steal.

Re:Rambust (1)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 2 years ago | (#38080960)

... by patenting once-public ideas ?

That's false [wikipedia.org] . Rambus did develop and submit the technology to JEDEC, but they failed to disclose that it was patent encumbered and then refused to agree to JEDEC FRAND terms and tried to license it separately. They lost those cases in court.

I agree with everything else you said.

Re:Rambust (1)

future assassin (639396) | more than 2 years ago | (#38081142)

>Leave IP theft to the Chinese, at least they don't patent the stuff they steal.

Now you gone and done it, they'll start pattenting stuff in the US and own yet another big part of the US market.

Two Words: (-1, Troll)

dccase (56453) | more than 2 years ago | (#38080676)

HA HA!

Ha! I remember Rambus. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38081026)

I was just starting in the IT industry when Rambus came out. Part of my quiz as a low-level tech for my first IT job was to ID some pieces of hardware. I had been building PCs using AMD & SDRAM for quite a while, due to how cheaper they were vs. Intel. I was handed a Rambus chip, and my exact response was:

"It's memory, and it has a heatsink. Either it's high-performance, or very inefficient"

Got the job, and I soon learned it turned out it was the latter. I saw how much Rambus sucked firsthand, and was glad when regular DDR RAM started to take its place. Farewell, it wasn't nice knowing you.

Re:Ha! I remember Rambus. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38081508)

It's nice to finally know why I could never upgrade my 128 mb of RDRAM when I got my first pc from dell. Now if I could only figure out why people hate Windows ME so much...

Re:Ha! I remember Rambus. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38082396)

People hated Windows ME so much because many device drivers that Windows ME computers shipped with were unstable. People blamed Windows ME for massive stability problems, but really it was more the drivers' fault. Windows ME was actually the most stable version of Windows 9x, not that that is saying much.

Sony paid the big bucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38081132)

Well, as luck has it, Rambus had a great client in Sony, who used Rambus ram in both the ps2 and ps3. So Rambus could play all these games with the courts in part due to geeks playing Skyrim on their PS3's.

Great summary.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38081222)

Except the part where George Soros just bought into Micron for about half of one billion dollars.
The jury deliberates for two months. One juror gets the flu, so they go on break.
In the meantime, Soros buys $480,000,000 of Micron stock.
When the sick juror comes back, they finish deliberating in 18 minutes.

Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean no one is watching you, eh?
It's not like Soros manipulates the economy for a living or anythi...oh, wait. He does.

On the subject of productivity in the past ten years, Rambus has produced the memory controller for the Cell processor, developed the first quad-data-rate memory, and other notable things.

Meanwhile, in court, the FCC lawyers prosecuting Rambus were direct hires from Hynix, Micron, Samsung, etc. and the judges ruling against Rambus have
done so by claiming spoliation on the part of Rambus because they destroyed documents before going to court...five *years* before any of this started and on
the advice of legal counsel to get rid of nonessential documents to make room in their filing rooms.

Claiming an R&D company is a patent troll because they try to collect royalties from manufacturers leads me to believe that
many here at /. would shout down Thomas Edison if he ever tried to collect licensing fees on his inventions. After all, he didn't manufacture anything.

There's a reason the SDRAM manufacturers only won cases with technicalities and crooked judges. Rambus invents things.
Samsung would not have settled with Rambus for $900 million if they were innocent. They didn't settle because their legal fees would
amount to more than $900M. Samsung settled because if the case went to court, the awarded damages would have been tremendously higher.
And in case you're wondering, Rambus settled with Samsung because they, unlike Samsung, needed the cash to stay afloat.

Re:Great summary.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38082198)

Meanwhile, in court, the FCC lawyers prosecuting Rambus were direct hires from Hynix, Micron, Samsung, etc.

Even if that were true... What effect does a specific lawyer for one of the sides have any effect on how the case turns out? They argue their case in front of a jury, it's not like these industry lawyers have hypnotic powers over the jury or if they have some ability to change the laws and evidence that was presented because of where they previously worked. I'll admit, if they got some lawyers from the back of the phone book that does personal injury claims for a living, they may not have won..

Re:Great summary.. (1)

thsths (31372) | more than 2 years ago | (#38083148)

> On the subject of productivity in the past ten years, Rambus has produced the memory controller for the Cell processor, developed the first quad-data-rate memory, and other notable things.

And they were the first to design the memory bus as a proper terminated bus. DDR3 still does not do that - it relies on the connections between all the memory chips (even across modules) being very short. I think they really have something there. But their business attitude seems to be pretty evil, so nobody wants to touch it.

Rule number one in business: it is never a good idea to sue your customers, even if you are right.

And nothing of value was lost (3, Interesting)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38081482)

I remember looking at the Rambus approach back in the nineties, and it didn't look practical. High latency, high power consumption, high cost, high complexity (which implies lower yield, which drives cost) and my most favorite of all, a single vendor. I didn't see why anyone would buy their stuff. Yes, they had the fastest throughput for awhile, but throughput isn't everything.

Does this mean they're finished as a company? Does anyone still buy Rambus devices?

discount jerseys (1)

jersey123456 (2485408) | more than 2 years ago | (#38082196)

When you buy a shirt, you can see the extent of the burns came from a overlap in the band. The shirt Wholesale NFL jerseys [jerseymall.biz] cuffs appear abrasion, and purple gloves covers. T-Shirts for "supervisors" as Schultz and acquire the Claret Domei MLB jerseys [jerseymall.biz] spills everywhere. Swimsuits can be broken and disconnected from NHL jerseys [jerseymall.biz] the fight, but that is why despite all the adulation. NBA jerseys [jerseymall.biz] You burgundy chronic diaphoresis, because they are symbols of success, both for an amateur who has been out for a while surface.

google-bombed search results? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38082550)

So I google searched RDRAM vs. SDRAM and found the first page basically entirely pro-RDRAM pages, many of them old, saying the stuff was basically gloriously great with the only exception being its high cost. You ever wonder if a company would hire a contractor to google bomb some info if they are in a major court case and want to try to influence jurors who may be doing some after-school research? It took a few pages before I found a realistic retrospective page. I contrast, the same realistic retrospective page was visible on the first page of bing.com

Not saying it DID happen, but saying it could have happened and probably does happen.

Bottom line was:
Chip companies weren't making money on it
RDRAM took up a larger amount of the die so you got less parts per wafer
RDRAM was more complicated so there were more things that could go wrong in the fab process and thus lower yields
RDRAM was inherently marked up due to royalties
RDRAM was not widely adopted beyond intel motherboards
RDRAM made little difference to the average user
Companies aren't working for free and aren't going to sell a product cheaper and at a loss when they have a more lucrative alternative

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