AMD Joins Open Source MeeGo Project

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AMD has put aside its bitter rivally with chip giant Intel and joined it and Nokia to help develop MeeGo, the open source mobile operating system

Bitter rivals Intel and AMD have formed an unlikely alliance, after it was revealed that AMD has joined the Linux Foundation’s MeeGo open source project.

MeeGo is a blend of Nokia’s Linux-based Maemo and Intel’s Moblin operating systems, and was first introduced at Mobile World Congress in February this year. It is the operating system Nokia and Intel are looking to use to compete against the Apple iPhone and Android-running handsets, and is apparently increasing in Nokia’s affections, while another open source mobile operating system, namely Symbian, wanes.

While Nokia’s newest flagship smartphone, the N8, was launched with the Symbian 3 operating system, in future its flagship N series handsets will instead run MeeGo.

AMD Climbs Aboard

The AMD announcement was made at the MeeGo Conference in Dublin, Ireland, and it means that AMD will now provide “engineering expertise intended to help establish the technical foundations for next-generation mobile platforms and embedded devices.”

Nokia and Intel are widely expected to demo the MeeGo 1.1 mobile OS, running on the Nokia N900, at the Meego Conference.

“MeeGo represents an exciting, open-source mobile operating system we expect to be adopted by mobile and embedded device makers over time,” said Ben Bar-Haim, corporate vice president, software development, AMD in a statement. “We are glad to provide engineering resources to joint industry efforts like MeeGo and expect that this operating system will help drive our embedded plans and create expanded market opportunities for our forthcoming Accelerated Processing Units.”

“Built from the ground up for a whole new class of mobile computing devices, MeeGo gives companies like AMD and its partners unlimited opportunities to accelerate innovation for the next generation of computing,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director at The Linux Foundation. “As an existing Linux Foundation member, AMD will be an important and valuable contributor to the MeeGo Project.”

But why is AMD, a chip vendor more associated with processors for computers and laptops, getting involved in a project that is essentially trying to create a new mobile operating system?

Put simply, MeeGo is not just designed for smartphones, but is being developed to also power mobile hardware platforms in general, including ultra-mobile notebooks, tablets, and embedded in-vehicle infotainment systems.

Bitter Rivals

The fact that AMD and Intel will be working together on the project may raise a few eyebrows considering the bitter rivalry between the two companies in the microprocessor arena.

AMD and Intel had been locked in a number of lawsuits, and after a mammoth eight year court battle and seven months of negotiations, the two rival chip makers reached an agreement in November last year to settle the antitrust claims AMD had levelled against Intel, and Intel’s charges that AMD had breached the companies’ cross-licensing agreement when it spun off its manufacturing business to create Globalfoundries.

That 10-year settlement included a $1.25 billion (£750 million) payment by Intel to AMD and an agreement regarding anti-competitive business practices that cannot be used.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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