Digital Equipment Corp. is discussing handing over its Alpha RISC microprocessor technology to Intel Corp. for more than US$1.5 billion, thus ending a patent battle, according to a report published today.
Digital sued Intel in May for infringing on 10 Alpha-related patents to build Intel's Pentium line of chips. Several weeks later Intel filed its own suit against Digital over alleged misuse of technical information Digital had obtained through a nondisclosure agreement with Intel.
Jettisoning Alpha could ease the substantial financial investment Digital must maintain in the technology, though it has long been championed by Digital Chief Executive Officer Robert Palmer, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. On Digital's part, acquiring Alpha would relieve Intel from what would likely be a protracted lawsuit whose outcome is by no means certain, the Journal said.
U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) approval would be needed before Intel could acquire Alpha, which could be hard to win given Intel's weighty presence in the chip market, the Journal said. On the other hand, Digital could attempt to sway the FTC by showing that Alpha's market share is quite small, the Journal said.
Digital, in Maynard, Massachusetts, can be reached at +1-508-493-5111 and on the World Wide Web at http://www.digital.com/. Intel, in Santa Clara, California, can be reached at +1-408-987-8080 and on the World Wide Web at http://www.intel.com/.