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Intel Businesses Government The Courts News

Sources Say EU Will Find Intel Anti-Competitive 210

Posted by kdawson
from the slap-on-the-wrist-with-a-broadsword dept.
Anarchduke sends in a Reuters story quoting unnamed sources who say that the European Union has decided to find Intel anti-competitive. The finding should be announced in the coming week. "...the Commission will say Intel paid PC makers to delay or scrap the launch of products containing AMD chips. The Commission will characterize the payments as 'naked restrictions' to competition, the sources said. ... Intel set percentages of its own chips that it wanted PC makers to use, the sources said. For example, NEC Corp was told that 20 percent of its desktop and notebook machines could have AMD chips, the sources said. All Lenovo notebooks had to use Intel chips, as did relevant Dell products. The figure was 95 percent for Hewlett-Packard's business desktops, they said." Previous infractions by Intel include giving illegal rebates to computer makers back in 2007 and paying retailers not to sell AMD-based computer systems.
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Sources Say EU Will Find Intel Anti-Competitive

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  • Skype (Score:5, Informative)

    by Spatial (1235392) on Monday May 11, 2009 @08:11AM (#27904671)
    Intel also had that deal with Skype. [slashdot.org]

    I wonder what else they've been up to?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I don't understand why companies like Skype or NBC agree to these types of deals. If an Intel salesperson came to me and said, "You must limit how many calls an AMD processor may receive" or "You may only have 20% of your computers at NBC be powered by AMD", I'd tell the salesman to go fuck off. Intel has no right to come into the offices of Skype or NBC and boss them around.

      The only reason I can think Intel got away with such dictatorial demands is because Skype is small, and NBC depends upon Intel adv

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jimicus (737525)

        I don't imagine Intel sent a sales rep in one day to speak to anyone that lowly.

        Far more likely that these deals were agreed on the golf course by senior executives.

        • Yes that was my point. If I was a senior executive I'd tell Intel to "fuck off". I'm not going to allow some other company to run my company, or otherwise boss me around.

          • I'm not going to allow some other company to run my company, or otherwise boss me around.

            Most executives will gladly allow a truck full of pictures of Ben Franklin to boss them around.

          • by timeOday (582209)
            Don't you see, that's the whole point - the PC makers have no choice but to do Intel's bidding because most customers do want Intel chips. When Intel tells a PC maker what to do, it is not a choice. If Intel were to punish HP for insufficient loyalty by giving a 10% "good customer discount" to Dell, then HP would have a very hard time competing in the market.
      • by codegen (103601)
        If the hypothetical Intel sales person came and offered your company several millions of dollars, and you personally several hundreds of thousands of dollars, would your answer be the same?
      • Well, for hardware shops, pc builders and mainboard manufacturers, it's "do what we say, or you will never be able to buy intel products again, or create compatible systems". Which for mainboard manufacturers would mean going out of business. And for the others, to be seriously limited and damaged.

        That's the problem.

        From what I heard, even back in the days of the first Athlon, some manufacturers had a really heated discussion with intel over such practices. I dunno if intel got punished for it back then. Bu

      • by jonbryce (703250)

        Well presumably Skype got something in return that made it worth their while doing this?

  • Out of curiosity... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 11, 2009 @08:12AM (#27904689)

    Are there any plans to punish companies that went along with this? Sure, they could argue they were strong-armed into it by Intel but that's no comfort for AMD and the sales they'll have lost.

  • Pictures (Score:5, Funny)

    by jeffhenson (801813) on Monday May 11, 2009 @08:15AM (#27904721)

    ...for what the EU executive sees as "naked restrictions" to competition, the sources said.

    Pictures of the naked restrictions or it didn't happen.

  • by mc1138 (718275) on Monday May 11, 2009 @08:39AM (#27904933) Homepage
    A long time ago, Intel had all sorts of wondrous projects in the works. Open formats and innovative chips that would have made it possible for any OS to work with it. And then Microsoft swooped down and quashed this. Played hardball and pigeon holed Intel. Now, close to twenty years later they're finally being busted for similar practices. Part of me says good for the EU for not putting up with this, part of me is a little sad for the young Intel full of potential that got bullied into the position its in today.
    • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Monday May 11, 2009 @09:02AM (#27905167) Journal

      >>>part of me is a little sad for the young Intel full of potential that got bullied [by Microsoft] into the position its in today.

      Young Intel? Bullied? Funny.

      Intel was the most-powerful computer company in the late-1980s and throughout the 1990s. Microsoft was just one of dozens of software companies and had no real power until it released Windows 95 and squashed the competition (Os/2, GEOS, DR-DOS). You mis-characterize the situation when you call Intel a puppet of MS. Intel was the goliath of the industry, having ridden the IBM PC platform to 95% dominance.

      • by mikael (484)

        There were some graphics coprocessor cards back in the early 1990's. Texas Instruments TMS34010/TMS34020 range, that could have up four floating point units per processor. All of that was wiped out after Intel deliberately introduced a faster video bus and it became faster to render using the CPU again.

    • You must have missed, that intel already was well-known for doing that, ten years ago, when AMD wanted to get mainboard manufacturers to make some boards for the then new Athlon CPU. I remember this, because I bought an Athlon 850 back ten. And there were only 4 companies on the planet who offered a board. And way too late too. Which was because of intel's practices.
      I also remember, that it was before 2001, because I moved at the end of 2000 and then already had my new computer.

  • by Pecisk (688001) on Monday May 11, 2009 @08:50AM (#27905055)

    Duh.

    Intel have been anti-competitive since end of the nineteens. Once AMD vas viable as alternative, suddenly you couldn't buy AMD supported motherboards anymore, let's not talk about systems. Actually Intel did bad for their distributors, because disallowing to sell AMD it allowed to do it their new competitors - in result new branch of distributors grow up with AMD-only stuff (reselling Intel only when it was really needed).

    Intel dealership tactics have been ugly all the time. Even now, OLPC got burned from them few years ago.

  • by jamesh (87723) on Monday May 11, 2009 @09:03AM (#27905187)

    paying retailers not to sell AMD-based computer systems

    1. Start up a retail store
    2. Get varrious large organisations to pay you to not sell stuff.
    3. Profit!

    . Intel could pay you to not sell AMD products.
    . Microsoft could pay you to not sell your products with Linux on them.
    . Jack Thompson could pay you to not sell your products with violent or sexually explicit software on them
    . Pepsi could pay you to not sell Coke
    . McDonalds could pay you to not have a Hungry Jacks (Burger King) store in your food court

    I'm sure there's money to be made here!

  • Give the Fine to AMD (Score:4, Interesting)

    by fast turtle (1118037) on Monday May 11, 2009 @10:46AM (#27906713) Journal

    This offers two benefits: the first is that Intel gets hit in the wallet where they need to be for their actions. The second is that AMD recovers some of the money lost due to Intel's actions, thus encouraging actual competition by allowing AMD to survive. As a side benefit of this action, ATI would also survive, thus ensuring that Nvidia has effective competition in the graphics card market,

    • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Monday May 11, 2009 @11:02AM (#27907029)

      Hi, I'm Cyrus and I'd like some money too. Yeah, me too, make the check out to VIA. Hey, DEC here, don't forget me! Yo, dudes, it's Joe Blow; I had a great idea for a chip but I couldn't get VC funding because Intel was in such a dominant position; where's mine?

      For a real world example of why this is a bad idea see any music industry initiative to levy recordable media.

    • by Spatial (1235392)
      I don't think ATI needs much help right now. Their current lineup is better value than most of Nvidia's, offer similar medium-high end performance (HD4850 and 4870) and they're ahead in process technology as well. They recently released a 40nm GPU and it's pretty damn good (the HD4770). I don't think Nvidia have anything to match it actually.

      I've always bought Nvidia cards for the sake of familiarity. I was going to switch over last time I upgraded but there was a sale on the GTX 260. Better luck next
  • by mspohr (589790) on Monday May 11, 2009 @10:50AM (#27906791)
    From today's NY Times:

    NY Times [nytimes.com] "WASHINGTON â" President Obamaâ(TM)s top antitrust official this week plans to restore an aggressive enforcement policy against corporations that use their market dominance to elbow out competitors or to keep them from gaining market share."

    "The new enforcement policy would reverse the Bush administrationâ(TM)s approach, which strongly favored defendants against antitrust claims. It would restore a policy that led to the landmark antitrust lawsuits against Microsoft and Intel in the 1990s."

A penny saved is a penny to squander. -- Ambrose Bierce

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