AMD is now being sued by someone who believes her son’s birth defects were caused by exposure to dangerous chemicals while working at an AMD fab.
While we’re not going to judge the merits of this particular case, the notion that fab work can cause birth defects and other serious health problems is not something this lady’s lawyer just thought up.
There’s been more than a little litigation on this issue, though up to now, neither Intel nor AMD have been involved in lawsuits; it’s been mostly IBM, with National Semiconductor involved in a couple. Litigation continues, and in IBM’s case, a number of settlements have been reached out of court.
This doesn’t look like an AMD-only issue per se, but rather one that affects most or all of the semiconductor industry. If the IBM litigation is any indicator, this isn’t a matter of one or a few lawsuits, but dozens or hundreds in any one big semiconductor company.
Lawsuits and settlements get the headlines, but increased safety measures are what cost the companies the real money, so a wave of successful lawsuits will increases the cost of fabbing, and thus the costs of CPUs.