AMD Legal On Line For Skype

    March 1, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

Lawyers at chip maker AMD are very curious as to why the Skype VoIP service permits 10-way conference calls from Intel dual-core processor machines, but only 5-way calls from AMD dual-core equipped computers.

An Intel spokesperson confirmed to CNet that a feature in Skype’s software only allows 10-way conference calls when it finds Intel inside. The GetCPUID function detects an Intel dual-core processor in a PC at startup; if it doesn’t find Intel inside, only 5-way conference calls can be made.

AMD has been fighting with Intel since June 2005, when they sued Intel for anticompetitive practices. Numerous subpoenas were issued to compel companies working with Intel to provide details of their relationships. AMD believes that Intel pressures computer makers not to use AMD chips; former Compaq head Michael Cappellas said Intel “had a gun to his head” and had to stop buying chips from AMD.

That rancor has enveloped Skype, as AMD thinks Intel has provided some kind of motivation to Skype in order to have its software perform 10-way calls only on Intel platforms. Intel and Skype announced a deal in early February where optimized code on Intel chips would enable the advanced conference calling feature.

AMD believes the deal goes beyond tweaking some code, however. Its legal team sent a subpoena to Skype seeking documents about the Intel arrangement. The article noted that Skype would not comment on the question of whether 10-way calling had been tested on both AMD and Intel-equipped machines.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.