Reports: IBM, AMD to extend partnership again

IBM Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) are planning to extend their technology development partnership for a second time, according to reports.

The two companies first signed a collaboration agreement in December 2002. In September 2004, IBM and AMD added a three-year extension onto the arrangement that was set to expire at the end of 2005 so it was due to continue until Dec. 31, 2008. They now expect to extend that agreement to 2011, according to reports in The San Jose Mercury News Monday and in The Wall Street Journal Tuesday.

IBM and AMD are also expanding their collaboration to include early research on new chip technologies including transistors, chip connection, packing and lithography, according to the reports, along with work on chip-making technologies based on a 22-nanometer process. The companies announced plans to carry out joint work based on a 32-nanometer process last year. The relationship with IBM helps AMD compete against the might of bitter rival Intel Corp.’s manufacturing expertise.

IBM was not immediately available for comment, while AMD wouldn’t comment specifically on the extension of the agreement.

“At this point, I can only say that our joint development alliance with IBM begun in 2002 continues to be tremendously successful,” an AMD spokesman wrote in an e-mail. “While we continue to investigate further opportunities for collaboration between our two companies, we have not executed an agreement on a potential expansion or extension of the alliance. We therefore cannot provide any further information regarding press reports on this topic at this time.”

Under their existing agreement, AMD expects to pay fees to IBM of between US$200 million and $230 million in connection with joint development projects, from June 26, 2005, through December 2008, according to a 10-Q statement AMD filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Aug. 4.

In the filing, AMD also stated it already had paid Big Blue around $290 million from the beginning of 2002 through June 26, 2005, “in connection with agreements and services related to license grants and research and development activities.”

In other AMD news, the company Tuesday announced the availability of its Mobile Athlon 64 4000+ processor for use in high-performance notebooks. Based on AMD64 technology, the new chip operates in both 32-bit and 64-bit environments, according to a company release.

Fujitsu-Siemens Computers GmbH plans to use the chip in its Amilo A1667G notebook expected to ship in Europe in September, AMD said in the release.

The Mobile AMD Athlon 64 4000+ is priced at $382 in 1,000-unit quantities.

(Tom Krazit in San Francisco contributed to this report.)

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