What Does This Mean For The Future?
In the longer term, manufacturers are very likely going to be much more careful about releasing information about their technology to prevent IP houses (companies whose only source of revenue is licensing their patents) from gaining any kind of advantage. These days, inventors are encouraged to apply for patents as quickly as possible to avoid these situations. Unfortunately, this means that the USPTO is having to deal with an ever increasing volume of applications, making it even more likely that conflicting patents will be issued.
There is a chance that all manufacturers will decide that it is cheaper to capitulate and sign license agreements with Rambus, particularly if Rambus offers very favorable terms for doing so. However, there is also the possibility that manufacturers will attempt to accelerate their plans for replacement technologies, such as IBM’s recent announcement concerning memory based upon Magneto-Resistive technology that may replace DRAM, SRAM and even Flash memories in use today.
Regardless of how things play out, one thing is certain: Rambus has managed to invoke the ire of the entire memory industry and many consumers. DRDRAM will have some difficulty making significant inroads due to a portion of the market resisting it, just because it is Rambus who is pushing it. Manufacturers will be investigating workarounds for their SDRAM implementations in order to avoid paying royalties. New implementations will not include any Rambus inventions, if they can be avoided, for the same reason. Though Rambus seems to have won these early battles, the war that is business lasts a long time, and now they may have made themselves a target as well. It would seem that Rambus will need the same top notch management that brought Intel to the position they are in. However, just as is the case with Intel today, it only takes a few missteps to lose that edge, and Rambus does not seem to have the popularity that Intel did when they started their ascention…
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