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FTC Introduces New Orders For Intel; No Bundling 155

Posted by timothy
from the or-we'll-be-very-very-angry dept.
eldavojohn writes "Today a decision was handed down (PDF) from the FTC that underlined new guidelines for Intel in the highly anticipated investigation. Biggest result: the practices Intel employed, like bundling prices to get manufacturers like Dell to block sales of competitors' chips, must stop. No word yet on whether or not Intel will face monetary fines from the FTC like they did in Europe over the same monopolistic practices."
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FTC Introduces New Orders For Intel; No Bundling

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  • FTC (Score:5, Insightful)

    by elrous0 (869638) * on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @01:42PM (#33141476)

    "This case demonstrates that the FTC is willing to challenge anticompetitive conduct by even the most powerful companies in the fastest-moving industries," FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said in a statement today.

    If that's really the case, why aren't you putting a stop to carrier lock-in for cellphones? Some of those agreements are WAY more anti-competitive than any Intel contract ever was.

    • These rules are not what you do but the scale that you do it.

      The Carrier Lock-in agreements are often because the carrier will subsidize the cost of your phone and if you leave early you need to pay off the rest of your phone. Also say the iPhone while a popular phone isn't doing much to stop people from choosing Android Phones. Even at AT&T. What is with Intel is it would be more like AT&T couldn't sell any Android Phones. As an AT&T Customer you can choose what type of phone you want. If

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by barzok (26681)

        The Carrier Lock-in agreements are often because the carrier will subsidize the cost of your phone and if you leave early you need to pay off the rest of your phone.

        Then why doesn't my monthly bill go down when my 2-year contract is up? If I'm paying for part of the phone every month for 2 years, when the phone is paid off, my bill should go down.

        Why this hasn't been investigated by the FTC yet I don't understand.

        • by berashith (222128)

          take a fully paid for phone to t-mobile. The plan is $10 off of a subsidized plan.

        • by Macrat (638047)

          Then why doesn't my monthly bill go down when my 2-year contract is up? If I'm paying for part of the phone every month for 2 years, when the phone is paid off, my bill should go down.

          Because you're not on T-Mobile. Their non contract rates are cheaper.

          • by barzok (26681)

            I'm not on T-Mobile because their coverage is a joke. There are massive swaths of upstate NY with no voice coverage, let alone data. Basically, if you go more than 15-20 minutes off an interstate, you're hosed.

            • by Macrat (638047)
              The same can be said for ATT.
              • by barzok (26681)

                Not true. AT&T has some degree of voice & data coverage over the majority of the state, they're just missing in the remote areas of the Adirondacks & Catskills.

                T-Mobile, OTOH, doesn't even have voice coverage for much of the Finger Lakes & Southern Tier.

                • by Macrat (638047)

                  T-Mobile, OTOH, doesn't even have voice coverage for much of the Finger Lakes & Southern Tier.

                  And in my experience, I can make voice and data connections on T-Mobile when my friends can't even receive a call with ATT.

                  Not to mention the non existent ATT 3G in urban areas were "data" means 30kbs.

                  ATT coverage is good for you in the locations you travel. That's good for you. Just don't make blanket statements that it is good everywhere and better than T-Mobile.

                  Coverage is variable on all carriers.

    • "This case demonstrates that the FTC is willing to challenge anticompetitive conduct by even the most powerful companies in the fastest-moving industries," FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said in a statement today.

      If that's really the case, why aren't you putting a stop to carrier lock-in for cellphones?

      Carrier lock-in for cellphones mostly comes from:
      1. Incompatible hardware used on different networks, so that a phone for certain carriers won't work for certain other carriers -- that's clearly FCC, not FTC, ju

      • by AK Marc (707885)
        If all that's true, then why do they spend additional money to cripple the phone to block it from accessing other networks?
    • by Grishnakh (216268)

      It's not just the lock-in, it's the entire cellular industry. It's a disaster. In foreign countries, phone service is MUCH cheaper, and MUCH higher quality. People in Finland get better cellular reception in remote, unpopulated parts of the country than we do in our cities. And they get it for less money, and without all the stupid fees added on for every little thing.

      Regulation in the USA is a disaster. They're giving Intel grief over things done 10 years ago, even though no one is complaining about t

    • by jonwil (467024)

      Thats different.

      What Intel did would be like if Nokia did a deal with AT&T where AT&T would get a discount on Nokia handsets on the condition that they didnt sell handsets from Nokia competitors.

  • Can we have a similar ruling for Apple and AT&T please?

  • by Required Snark (1702878) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @02:37PM (#33142272)
    This agreement will have very little impact on anything. Intel is a corrupt monopolistic business and they can continue to dominate and manipulate the marketplace even if they comply with the terms of the settlement.

    Here is a good technical description of the actual terms:

    http://www.eetimes.com/electronics-news/4205889/Intel-not-fined--agrees-to-restrictions-in-FTC-deal [eetimes.com]

    Read it. All it does is require that Intel stop engaging in the monopolistic practices that it has been using for the last 10 years. So their punishment is that they have to obey the law for the next 5 years. They pay no fine. They don't admit that they did anything wrong.

    The best part is at the very end of the article. This is where the juicy details are always buried.

    The settlement gives the FTC authority to appoint technical consultants to monitor Intel's compliance with the settlement agreement. These technical consultants will be subject to Intel's approval and paid by Intel. The settlement requires that the technical consultants be given access to technical information on Intel products as well as other information like company personnel and finances. The total amount that Intel is required to pay for the 10-year duration of the FTC's order is limited to $2 million to all technical consultants.

    Two million dollars to monitor a company a size of Intel for 10 years? Pathetic.

    Despite the hype that the press will put out, this is a complete win for Intel. No fine. No one in the company is held responsible. No admission of guilt.

    You have been getting ripped off for 10 years by Intel/Dell/HP in the form of higher prices and decreased innovation. Remember it was AMD that created the x86 64 bit architecture, not Intel. When Intel was paying bribes to Dell none of that money was going into R&D. The EETimes article makes it clear that Intel was modifying it's architecture to make AMD look bad, not to make any real world code run faster.

    Your will not get a dime in compensation for the higher prices you have been paying. When you see figures that Dell paid $500 million in fines, or Intel paid AMD $1.2 billion to settle a court case, they are paying with money they stole from you, the consumer.

    This settlement is a joke. Non of the people who profited will be held accountable or loose any real money. Consumers had untold billions of dollars stolen from them and the crooks got away clean. Welcome to our so-called capitalistic market driven economy, sucker.

    • by thogard (43403)

      If the FTC wanted to punish the executives, it would ban them from playing golf for the next 5 years too.

    • by Renraku (518261)

      The cases were never about the consumer. We, the consumer, never see any money given back to us. Even if representatives of Evil Corporation used their connections to literally steal money from your bank account, you probably wouldn't see it again. You'd file a lawsuit, just like the ten thousand other people it happened to, it would get turned into a class action, and you'd get two dollars off your next purchase of widgets from Evil Corporation. Evil Corporation would have to pay 80% of their gains, an

      • I've never understood the belief that discounts are the only benefit to consumers.

        I'm quite happy getting a better product for the same price sometimes, or a new product with new features for the same price.

        There's often a price-point at which production just isn't profitable anymore (and this is why you don't see very many small hard drives for sale once the larger models come out), and that's fine. The remedy here is to try and keep Intel from screwing us over any worse without being punitive.

  • Personally, I'm much more interested in the extent to which this decision will allow nVidia to make motherboard chipsets for current (post-Socket 775) and future Intel CPUs. Intel needs some competition in that space, and the market needs some chipsets for Core i(3-5-7-?) CPUs that have serious integrated graphics capability. I'd love to see, for instance, a motherboard that uses Socket 1156 processors with an integrated-into-chipset GT 240-class GPU in ITX form factor. That would be rockin for an HTPC/comp

  • But Microsoft can? Doesn't seem fair to me.

  • The FTC lacks the legal authority to fine Intel unless they breach the terms of the FTC settlement.1 [mercurynews.com] Also, the way this was brought as a section 5 investigation and not a standard anti-trust case had two major implications. One was that it allowed the FTC greater lattitude in what it could go after Intel for, but it also didn't create the opportunity for triple damages liability that a standard anti-trust litigation suit would have opened Intel up to.2 [nytimes.com] After a normal anti-trust case competitors can apparent

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