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AMD NDA "scandal"

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September 8, 2007 8:19:46 PM

Pretty interesting article from a site I frequent, that I would say is reputable.
http://techarp.com/showarticle.aspx?artno=441&pgno=0
Sorry about the inevitable flame war to follow. Stuff like this should be posted (if it's true)

More about : amd nda scandal

September 8, 2007 8:40:13 PM

Interesting read.

5 years is a pretty long time to have to send any review to the vendor for approval, that's for sure.
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September 8, 2007 9:40:52 PM

sounds like AMD may have found a way to detour bad reviews.
September 8, 2007 9:47:58 PM

Do you want marketing or good processors?

For many years Intel provided marketing and I bought AMD.

Wow, the tables have turned. We'll have to see if Barcy flops, but with all the NDA's I think it would have to be.
September 8, 2007 10:16:13 PM

I've read a lot of suff in NDAs in the past, but nothing like that short of some of the stuff I saw when in the Air Force. Someone at AMD must really have their head up their posterior. The thought of doing a review and then turning it over to AMD for their approval before publishing it? It boggles the mind. That's just trying to get a gaurentee that no bad news will go out, which won't work. Unless Barcelona is good, then nothing from AMD will ever be trusted again. At this point, I agree that the chip must be a flop. Why else go to so much trouble to hide it?
September 9, 2007 12:17:24 AM

I can only guess that the writer is quite young and new at his job.
NDA's are quite common and necessary.
The 1st one was a bit over the top, but the second one quite normal.

Very simply put, you can't publish what you see and here just because you see or hear it. The whole point to an NDA.

The 1st NDA was out of line and people refused to sign.
The 2nd NDA fell into standard agreements and others signed and he was then out of line.
September 9, 2007 12:26:00 AM

zenmaster said:
I can only guess that the writer is quite young and new at his job.
NDA's are quite common and necessary.
The 1st one was a bit over the top, but the second one quite normal.

Very simply put, you can't publish what you see and here just because you see or hear it. The whole point to an NDA.
I don't think anyone is concerned about there being NDAs at all. What concerning is the fact that part of the NDA requires you to get AMD's stamp of approval on any article you want to write on any tech displayed on those days.
zenmaster said:

The 1st NDA was out of line and people refused to sign.
The 2nd NDA fell into standard agreements and others signed and he was then out of line.
Well what I got from the article was that the NDA for each day was pretty much the same, the one for the second day being worded differently. On the second day is when the reporter walked. Unless I'm misreading this part:
Quote:
On Day 2 though, they were presented with another NDA to sign before a factory visit. This one stipulated that "any confidential information from this visit would need written approval from corporate communications before it could be used". I don't know about you, but that clause sounds exactly like the clause in the first NDA. The PR person even had the temerity to say that it was "just paperwork and that everyone, be it a president or prime minister, had to sign this document". That was when Don walked out.
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September 9, 2007 1:00:48 AM

TechnologyCoordinator said:
That guy is now my idol. He said, "Hey AMD. [BLEEP] YOU!"

:)  He is the kind of journalist that we need. I would buy him a beer. [:mousemonkey:3]
September 9, 2007 1:02:27 AM

The key is "Any confidential information".

Clearly for any NDA, you must get clearance before reporting "confidential information".

The perspective of the author of the article is that they were the same, but clearly they are not. Once information becomes non-confidential, it's free game.

I maintain some NDA's with a major software vendors and I'm often at a loss trying to figure out what I can and cannot say publicly. I'm often scouting various promo sessions and the like for the slightest slip. Once that is done, I can simply quote the slipper and am free to speak since it's now public knowledge and I can repeat it. I just can't be the one to break the news.

September 9, 2007 1:09:42 AM

Mousemonkey said:
I wonder if this is the guy :- http://www.xing.com/profile/Don_Sambandaraksa. If it is he may not be that new to the job.


Well if not knew, then he must have some feeling of self-importanance that NDA's are beyond him.

Clearly his intention was to try and obtain confidential information and publish it.

The purpose of the trip for a good reporter was to learn as much as possible so that when the NDA is lifted he can report quickly and in-depth. If that was his goal, he would have stayed, learned and done so. His goal appeared to be to try and scoop a story by avoiding NDA's.

He did both himself and his employer a great disservice.
September 9, 2007 1:15:19 AM

If Intel was doing this we'd hear about how Hitler and Satan jointly head their marketing department. But if the underdog does it, it's OK and normal.
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September 9, 2007 1:15:58 AM

zenmaster said:
Well if not knew, then he must have some feeling of self-importanance that NDA's are beyond him.

Clearly his intention was to try and obtain confidential information and publish it.

The purpose of the trip for a good reporter was to learn as much as possible so that when the NDA is lifted he can report quickly and in-depth. If that was his goal, he would have stayed, learned and done so. His goal appeared to be to try and scoop a story by avoiding NDA's.

He did both himself and his employer a great disservice.

Quote:
First off, the non-disclosure agreement covered everything confidential said or written over the next two years on the product, and had a duration of five years

If the NDA had a five year life then anything he learned would be seriously crusty by the time he could speak freely about it.
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September 9, 2007 1:29:40 AM

I dunno, this really seems like a non-issue to me. The author stated that the NDA specifically covered "confidential information" but that does imply that any other info about the tour is fair game for publication. That's what NDA are for, to protect sensitive and confidential information, not censor the media.

I give Don Sambandaraska kudos for sticking up for his journalistic integrity, but don't publicly complain and whine about it and berate your fellow journalists because you don't agree with the NDA and they don't follow your lead.
All this time, the timid, shy Thai delegation was busy signing the
paperwork that had been put before them and probably wondering what on
earth my problem was...Strange, I had expected others to follow me in this mini-rebellion but alas, that did not happen.

said:
All this time, the timid, shy Thai delegation was busy signing the
paperwork that had been put before them and probably wondering what on
earth my problem was...Strange, I had expected others to follow me in this mini-rebellion but alas, that did not happen.

And by his own admission, apparently he was the only one that did not actually sign the NDA and not go on the tour. His loss. When all the other newspapers and websites are printing their Barcelona stories come September 11th the majority of the readers won't be reading the Bangkok Post.

I will agree that five years is a long time, but the allusion that AMD
is censoring copy before it can be published is the stuff of conspiracy
theories.


Just imagine, in 2012, when Intel launches a new chip, those
other publications might get a phone call. "Remember that piece of
paper you signed five years ago? Well, you broke the agreement so if
you do not want us to sue you, how about you skip the Intel launch and
we'll forget about the lawsuit." Silly? Of course, but it started with
the five year confidentiality agreement and things went downhill from
there. said:


Just imagine, in 2012, when Intel launches a new chip, those
other publications might get a phone call. "Remember that piece of
paper you signed five years ago? Well, you broke the agreement so if
you do not want us to sue you, how about you skip the Intel launch and
we'll forget about the lawsuit." Silly? Of course, but it started with
the five year confidentiality agreement and things went downhill from
there.

I mean c'mon, really now, especially when a week later he reports this...


AMD issued an apology a week later saying the incident was a
misunderstanding among certain local staff and that it is not, and has
never been, AMD policy to vet the stories of tier-1 publications prior
to publication. said:


AMD issued an apology a week later saying the incident was a
misunderstanding among certain local staff and that it is not, and has
never been, AMD policy to vet the stories of tier-1 publications prior
to publication.
Like I said, this is non-issue.

September 9, 2007 1:34:25 AM

zenmaster said:
Well if not knew, then he must have some feeling of self-importanance that NDA's are beyond him.

Clearly his intention was to try and obtain confidential information and publish it.

The purpose of the trip for a good reporter was to learn as much as possible so that when the NDA is lifted he can report quickly and in-depth. If that was his goal, he would have stayed, learned and done so. His goal appeared to be to try and scoop a story by avoiding NDA's.

He did both himself and his employer a great disservice.


Mousemonkey said:
Quote:
First off, the non-disclosure agreement covered everything confidential said or written over the next two years on the product, and had a duration of five years


If the NDA had a five year life then anything he learned would be seriously crusty by the time he could speak freely about it.


I'm with mousemonkey on this one.

He wasn't upset about signing an NDA (he even told the AMD PR folks that he wouldn't write anything until Sept. 11th). He was upset about the length of the NDA. Had nothing to do about him wanting to obtain and publish confidential info. Also, the presentation was the same that was presented in the US, a month earlier.
Quote:
other than the fact that AMD was merely regurgitating what they had already revealed to the US press (and the entire world online) a whole month ago.
So, how exactly is that trying to obtain confidential information and publish it?

5 year NDA? Holy crap. That's a long time. Plus, to have to have your writing approved by AMD prior to publishing for 5 years? That's even more insane. And why does it have to be for so long? Why not have the cut off date on Sept. 10th? Not 2 1/2 years for the product, and last 5 years? Is there something that might be found, that AMD will say is confidential, so those reporters won't be able to report out about it? Imagine if Intel had the same NDA when the whole Pentium floating point error debacle happened. No one would be able to publish it, or they would be sued for breaking the NDA (if Intel decided it was confidential information). That's pretty rough to swallow for tech reporters, I imagine, especially with a new product release.
September 9, 2007 1:39:09 AM

It does not matter if the length is 1,000years.
Once the information is no longer confidential, he is not held.

The 2nd NDA was very clear in stating, "Confidential Information".
All of my NDA's are open-ended.

If it's confidential, I can't write about it.
Once it's no longer confidential I can.
That was the key change in the second NDA.
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September 9, 2007 1:50:55 AM

What if an AMD bod said "confidentially speaking, we never had any intention of Barcelona ever being shipped at 3ghz" then all the press could do is print articles saying "what if it was 3ghz" and "wait until it gets to 3ghz". In this instance the phrase 'freedom of the press' should be used.
September 9, 2007 2:05:06 AM

Thats appalling. :\
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September 9, 2007 2:21:48 AM

chunkymonster said:
I dunno, this really seems like a non-issue to me.


I agree. NDAs are a common practice. I see nothing sinister here. Just the start of another conspiracy theory...
September 9, 2007 2:22:03 AM

Nope, the "press could not report that".
In general, the existence of future products, whether they are to be released or not to be released is covered under NDA.
Example - Please give me the details of the upcoming NVIDIA/ATA cards w/links please. I'm sure they exist since these cards likely are already atleast in test production by numerous card manufacturers.

Trust me, I am put in that exact situation.
I know extensive details about future software releases that both will and will not happen, but I can't speak about them because they are not publicly announced. This could be for competitive reasons or because while decided they are not permanent decisions. I recall one case where a product was killed but it could not be said for NDA reasons. Every developer was taken off the project. Within 3months, the product was re-staffed and has lived on for years.

If you don't want to sign an NDA, don't sign and NDA.
However, don't expect to be given NDA information.

I don't get the high and mighty thought, "You must tell me all of your corporate secrets so I can publish them because I am the press".

The guy is whining.
September 9, 2007 2:38:46 AM

I highly dout this guy was trying to get secret squirl information.His point was why does he need to sign an nda on AMD's up comeing chip, that will be released on the 10th. Yes a lot of companies make reporter sign NDAs but for five years and also anything he writes needs to go through AMD before he publishes it come on. If intel were to do this all hell would break loose. If it looks like a duck quacks like a duck..........
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September 9, 2007 2:51:36 AM

Mousemonkey said:
What if an AMD bod said "confidentially speaking, we never had any intention of Barcelona ever being shipped at 3ghz" then all the press could do is print articles saying "what if it was 3ghz" and "wait until it gets to 3ghz". In this instance the phrase 'freedom of the press' should be used.


Any good reporter can still print what was known before and ask new questions independent of the NDA. It would be very easy to report "AMD said this then" and "AMD refuses to confirm or deny this now".

I can't imagine a company would seriously try to hide anything with an NDA agreement. First, it is too easy to get around any significant information that should be public by asking current questions. Second, if it were somehow successful, in two or five years when the NDA expired and it was revealed they would have to pay the piper - and it would not be pretty. Third, it is preposterous on its face. It proposes is that a company try to keep something secret by telling people about it.

Can any conspiracy theorist tell us one instance of where any company has effectively use - or even tried to use - this strategy? And remember, NDAs expire so the information would become public.

NDAs are used to protect proprietary information and, in the very short term, to manage marketing information. The latter works in the short term primarily because of the small amount of power they have to withhold future information from violators. This power derives from selectively withholding - i.e. later withholding from one what others have, giving the previous violater a serious press disadvantage - not from completely withholding from the public. And it only works because those with the information are co-conspirators - since they cannot release it publicly for their own publications (withoout being penalized) , they don't want anyone else to leak it and scoop them. That is much different than trying to withold vital information from the public on a longer term basis. The two options that open up here are to be the hero and release the vital information anyway, accepting whatever penalty the NDAers can impose, or more simply just to leak the information.

I guess xrider has never seen any duck decoys. A long time ago, I used to beleive if it looked like Santa and laughed like Santa, it must be Santa.

Shakespeare would have said " This is much adieu about nothing."
September 9, 2007 3:00:21 AM

xrider said:
I highly dout this guy was trying to get secret squirl information.His point was why does he need to sign an nda on AMD's up comeing chip, that will be released on the 10th. Yes a lot of companies make reporter sign NDAs but for five years and also anything he writes needs to go through AMD before he publishes it come on. If intel were to do this all hell would break loose. If it looks like a duck quacks like a duck..........

....it could be a duck. With Monday's release, it will determine if Amd was indeed trying to cover up. Inductive reasoning is logical, but deductive is final.
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September 9, 2007 3:11:37 AM

Evilonigiri said:
....it could be a duck. With Monday's release, it will determine if Amd was indeed trying to cover up. Inductive reasoning is logical, but deductive is final.


No, deductive reasoning is based on logic. Inductive reasoning is based on inference and statistics. And neither is final. Both can be right or wrong. And what is reported Monday will prove nothing about anything that AMD was or was not trying to hide.
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September 9, 2007 3:13:13 AM

rockyjohn said:
Any good reporter can still print what was known before and ask new questions independent of the NDA. It would be very easy to report "AMD said this then" and "AMD refuses to confirm or deny this now".

I can't imagine a company would seriously try to hide anything with an NDA agreement. First, it is too easy to get around any significant information that should be public by asking current questions and, second, if it were somehow successful, in two or five years when the NDA expired and it was revealed they would have to pay the piper - and it would not be pretty.

NDAs are used to protect proprietary information and, in the very short term, to manage marketing information. The latter works in the short term primarily because of the small amount of power they have to withhold future information from violators. This power derives from selectively withholding - i.e. later withholding from one what others have, giving the previous violater a serious press disadvantage - not from completely withholding from the public. And it only works because those with the information are co-conspirators - since they cannot release it publicly for their own publications (withoout being penalized) , they don't want anyone else to leak it and scoop them. That is much different than trying to withold vital information from the public on a longer term basis. The two options that open up here are to be the hero and release the vital information anyway, accepting whatever penalty the NDAers can impose, or more simply just to leak the information.

I guess xrider has never seen any duck decoys.

Shakespeare would have said " This is much adieu about nothing."

I understand your explanation, but I still think there is something wrong when NDA's that restrictive are used at a press briefing that is so close to the launch date. The whole idea I would have thought, is to show off the product so that the press can then write about the product and then the punters will go and buy the product. Why would a company feel the need to have to vet anything said about a product that they have invited you to see?
September 9, 2007 3:18:46 AM

I thought chip makers sent out free chips to reviewers... An NDA about a product being released in two days is just weird.
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September 9, 2007 3:26:22 AM

I would say that the facts reported here are sketchy at best - just the kind that get blown out of proportion by conspiracy theories.

And even if some of the facts were accurate - whose to say that it is not the result of an over zealous attorney or PR man. Or some exxagerated reaction by a newsman. As I recall from the sketchy information, it said only one reporter walked out. Why did the rest stay if AMD's request was so onerous?

I think convicting a company of Machiavellian practices based on this sketchy information is - well un American. With so little evidence so many are so ready to judge and convict - or at least think the worst is highly likely. This is conspiracy thinking at its worst.
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September 9, 2007 3:30:21 AM

TechnologyCoordinator said:
I thought chip makers sent out free chips to reviewers... An NDA about a product being released in two days is just weird.


Why is it weird? They are just trying to manage the media to build the maximum suspense and hype for their product launch. Nothing sinister - just a common business practice. They want to ensure everyone has their complete message and information ahead of time but that it all gets released at one time.
September 9, 2007 3:47:53 AM

rockyjohn said:
Why is it weird? They are just trying to manage the media to build the maximum suspense and hype for their product launch. Nothing sinister - just a common business practice. They want to ensure everyone has their complete message and information ahead of time but that it all gets released at one time.


Actually, it is inconsistent with major product launches. Even some of the most hyped products didn't have all these warning flags and secrecy.

AMD is practically taking the Segway Human Transporter approach when the creator announced "something wonderful" (2001 reference) is coming and would only call the device "It".
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September 9, 2007 4:12:51 AM

TechnologyCoordinator said:
Actually, it is inconsistent with major product launches. Even some of the most hyped products didn't have all these warning flags and secrecy..


What are you saying is inconsistent with major product launchers? Using NDAs or "all these warning flags and secrecy"?
September 9, 2007 4:26:14 AM

rockyjohn said:
What are you saying is inconsistent with major product launchers? Using NDAs or "all these warning flags and secrecy"?


Using NDA's that are that restrictive and not even giving the processsor to one reviewer for independent benchmarking.
September 9, 2007 4:38:06 AM

TechnologyCoordinator said:
Actually, it is inconsistent with major product launches. Even some of the most hyped products didn't have all these warning flags and secrecy.

AMD is practically taking the Segway Human Transporter approach when the creator announced "something wonderful" (2001 reference) is coming and would only call the device "It".


I don't think so when a company has something they know people will want they usally leak information out example apples Iphone yes this product might have been in development years before it was introduced in July but people got information about A couple of months before its release. AMD seems to be in a cloak and dagger mode. They're not being transparent. They're like the magic man now you see me now you don't. A quote from Ricky Bobby. Sorry its not Shakespheare
September 9, 2007 11:33:03 AM

chunkymonster said:
I dunno, this really seems like a non-issue to me. The author stated that the NDA specifically covered "confidential information" but that does imply that any other info about the tour is fair game for publication. That's what NDA are for, to protect sensitive and confidential information, not censor the media.

I give Don Sambandaraska kudos for sticking up for his journalistic integrity, but don't publicly complain and whine about it and berate your fellow journalists because you don't agree with the NDA and they don't follow your lead.
And by his own admission, apparently he was the only one that did not actually sign the NDA and not go on the tour. His loss. When all the other newspapers and websites are printing their Barcelona stories come September 11th the majority of the readers won't be reading the Bangkok Post.

I will agree that five years is a long time, but the allusion that AMD
is censoring copy before it can be published is the stuff of conspiracy
theories.

Like I said, this is non-issue.


Completely agree.
To join the crazy conspiracy theory trip, probably that journalist is paid by Intel to make AMD look bad!
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September 9, 2007 12:18:50 PM

Nothing here I havn't seen before ... moving right along.

Intel isn't that clever ...

For a decent conspiracy theory you need critical evidence found then lost (then mebbe found and lost again) ... plus some missing people ... LOL.

Any Intel PR staff reading this would be giggling now ... but checking their e-mails nevertheless.


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September 9, 2007 12:41:56 PM

Mousemonkey said:
What if an AMD bod said "confidentially speaking, we never had any intention of Barcelona ever being shipped at 3ghz" then all the press could do is print articles saying "what if it was 3ghz" and "wait until it gets to 3ghz". In this instance the phrase 'freedom of the press' should be used.

The first two words of your statement are the two functional words...what if...but AMD didn't say anything like that, so why even posulate "what-if" scenarios.
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September 9, 2007 1:38:56 PM

chunkymonster said:
The first two words of your statement are the two functional words...what if...but AMD didn't say anything like that, so why even posulate "what-if" scenarios.

For the very same reason that I postulated "the what if" scenario last year when the XT2900XTX was going to be the 8800 killer and people were told to wait for it, and then there was the "what if" AMD kill off the 939 socket ahead of the time that they had said it was going to be killed off. It's always easier to look back and ask why no one saw this or that coming but I have more fun trying to look forward, and so I postulate "what if" scenarios and then see how events turn out. :lol: 
September 9, 2007 1:44:30 PM

I don't see it as a non-issue. I see AMD trying to turn an information hungry media into an AMD puppet.

Why doesn't AMD just right the stories for them? It could be the first news story in a PowerPoint.
!