When, way back when, Intel was preparing the Pentium 4 processor for market, the outfit had a plan to use a special type of memory with the chip. That memory was RDRAM designed by Rambus.
The idea - as a good friend pointed out at the time - was completely bananas.
Ever since Rambus failed in its coup attempt, the outfit seems to have been in court suing every other memory chip maker under the sun, including Intel.
While the Pentium 4 may be a few generations past its sell-by date, revelations from the Rambusted deal are still being made in open court.
A pair of Intel employees have, this very week, been dishing dirt on Rambus, calling its employees lazy and slapdash and its contracts deadly.
Intel engineer, Paul Fahey, was called to testify on behalf of Hynix Semiconductor and Micron Technology in a case against both companies brought by Rambus. Rambus, claims a conspiracy robbed it of the monopolistic position it would have held over at least one generation of Intel chips, and wants $3.95 billion in compensation for lost royalties.
Fahey told the San Franciscan court that Rambus engineers “were not as competent and they didn’t work as hard”. He said he'd be in the Rambus offices long after all the Rambus workers had gone home. He sometimes even had to lock up for the night.
William Swope, a former Intel strategic planning manager, who at the time worked for hunble corporate VP Paul Otellini, testified that, after being a big RDRAM proponent within Intel, he eventually decided that signing a Rambus 'guillotine contract' could have been suicidal.
Such a contract could have given Rambus the power to veto an Intel processor not using the memory standard as well as forcing Intel to promote RDRAM.
“My recommendation to Mr. Otellini was that we could not do business with a company that could put us out of business,” Swope told jurors.
Rambus has dug up an email from 2001 from Linda Turner, then Micron’s vice president of international sales,in which she wrote: "We want DDR to explode into the marketplace so have actually been requesting Infineon, Samsung and Hynix to lower their DDR pricing to help it become a standard (and drive Rambus away completely).”
Rambus reckons this is evidence of conspiracy. Turner reckons she was being: “totally sarcastic.”