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AMD Files Antitrust Lawsuit Against Intel 790

jonathan_ingram writes "As reported on GrokLaw, AMD has just filed an antitrust lawsuit against Intel. AMD states in its press release that the complaint details "... how Intel has unlawfully maintained its monopoly in the x86 microprocessor market by engaging in worldwide coercion of customers from dealing with AMD. It identifies 38 companies that have been victims of coercion by Intel - including large scale computer-makers, small system-builders, wholesale distributors, and retailers, through seven types of illegality across three continents.""
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AMD Files Antitrust Lawsuit Against Intel

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  • About time... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TripMaster Monkey ( 862126 ) * on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @09:54AM (#12930816)

    Full text of the complaint filed can be found here [] in PDF format.

    Interesting's high time we saw some legal action against Intel for all these shenanigans. However, I'm doubtful that this will resolve reality, Intel will probably be about as inconvinenced by this antitrust action as Microsoft was by theirs.
    • Re:About time... (Score:5, Informative)

      by RailGunner ( 554645 ) * on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @10:22AM (#12931116) Journal
      That's not all, sadly. Even though the Opteron, for example, supports the SSE2 instruction set (and supports it faster than a Pentium 4 Xeon based on my benchmarks) when you call in to any function in the Intel Integrated Performance Primitives (IPP), it will "watershed" to the default pentium, non-optimized code. It will NOT run the SSE2, SSE, or even MMX enabled functions. So this is another example of Intel screwing over AMD.

    • Re:About time... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by man_of_mr_e ( 217855 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @11:30AM (#12931849)
      While I don't doubt that Intel does every trick in the book to keep their profit margins up. I have to wonder exactly how "hurt" AMD is. They are a profitable company and sell a significant number of systems. There are tons of motherboard and system makers supporting them, though not generally the really big ones.

      You have to wonder how much of that is because of Intel "strong arming" and how much it is that manufacturers are more comfortable with Intel's product supply capability.

      I know if I were shipping a million or more computers a year, I probably wouldn't choose AMD, simply because they have a history of not being able to meet demand.
    • Re:About time... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ruiner5000 ( 241452 )
      yeah, i had the link to that, and much more in my submission that got rejected. i guess slashdot decides what to post based on who submits the least information. :) anyway, we have notes from AMD's just released conference call on the antitrust suit here []. We also have links to all news stories we have found on the subject here. []
      We also have links to all AMD pages on their site relating to the case here. []
      We have followed this story for years, and have recently cited the lack of AMD desktops in Best Buy as
  • ....isn't it a well known serect that Intel give price break to people who won't use AMD?
    • by Lord Pillage ( 815466 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @09:59AM (#12930872)
      My oxymoron detector just went through the roof.

      What? A well known secret you say?

  • by daveschroeder ( 516195 ) * on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @09:55AM (#12930831)
    Before this, it was already pretty much a foregone conclusion that Apple would use AMD products where they made sense in the future, and that the Intel announcement, specifically, was intended to be one of simplicity that wouldn't rile up Wall Street and analysts, and we can see that they've succeeded in spades. However, once the transition to the x86 architecture is over, there is nothing stopping Apple from using AMD (and/or x86-64/EM64T from Intel or AMD) where appropriate... ...except, possibly, strongarm tactics by Intel.

    Since the transition of high end machines is two and a half years out ("end of 2007"), it's likely that at least some of this will have shaken out by then. So even IF there are any types of exclusivity arrangements with Intel on Apple's part, either explicit or implicit (and please note, there is nothing to suggest there is), Apple, along with many other x86 vendors, will be free to choose the best processor solutions for their products - including those from AMD.

    Remember, too, though, that while AMD may have superior products in certain, specific areas, since it shares manufacturing/fabrication capability with IBM, it has run into many of the same manufacturing and supply problems as IBM. Superior products are fine - if you can actually ship them. Intel, while you can cherry-pick instances of supply problems, has proven itself to be a stable and consistent supplier.

    All that said, choice and competition is still a good thing for this marketplace.

    For more on the transition, see Apple/Intel FAQ [].
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Intel, while you can cherry-pick instances of supply problems, has proven itself to be a stable and consistent supplier.

      We always seem to quickly forget their bad processors that seem to quitely fade away into non-existance.

      We also seem to ignore their attempts at privacy invasion...
      • by Hal_Porter ( 817932 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @11:30AM (#12931845)
        IHBT IHL, but

        We always seem to quickly forget their bad processors that seem to quitely fade away into non-existance.

        Well, I don't hold a grudge against 'em. I prefer Athlon 64's to P4's, but upto the the P4 Intel seemed to make chips that were a bit faster, if a little expensive. And I would have bought an Itanium if it had decent performance, just because it seemed like an interesting bit of engineering.

        If the the next generation of chips are any good, I'll buy one. It's certainly enouraging that they are making x64 chips now, even though Amd invented it. And moving towards shorter pipelines. I think they still have strengths compared to Amd, even if they are bit behind in fps per buck- their chipsets tend to be more polished than the Athlon ones from Via/Nvidia etc.

        We also seem to ignore their attempts at privacy invasion...

        You mean like the unique ID? Net cards have always had had a unique ID, and hence so do most PC's. Anyhow, like AMD they're a company - they just make what sells. I won't buy there stuff it violated my privacy, but I certainly wouldn't hold it against them if they produced something better in the future.

        They're not evil, just amoral and greedy.
    • except, possibly, strongarm tactics by Intel.

      StrongARM tactics? Don't you mean "XScale tactics" nowadays []?

  • Forget the money (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    As some of the articles on this topic state, the money AMD might get for damages isn't that important. They just need to get their products in the hands of resellers.
  • When the Japanese commission slapped Intel Japan, the word was that the management there had been out of control.

    Looks like that explanation may have been a bit premature.

  • by bemenaker ( 852000 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @09:56AM (#12930838)
    Didn't Dell complain one time that this was part of the reason they don't sell AMD?
  • If you can't compete, legislate!
    • I read AMD's press release and think that the attitude of Intel is anticompetitive, but the actual transgressions did not seem wholly worthy of anti-trust litigation. I wouldn't go so far as to say you lines of "if you can't compete, legislate", but I doubt AMD will have success with this.

      Tha would be a shame, because being able to buy a notebook computer from Dell with a Turion in it and without the Microsoft Tax would make a nice political message.
    • by cyclopropene ( 777291 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @10:06AM (#12930967)
      If you can't compete, legislate!
      You mean litigate? They're not writing the law...
  • Interesting (Score:4, Informative)

    by farker haiku ( 883529 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @09:57AM (#12930846) Journal
    When AMD succeeded in getting on the HP retail roadmap for mobile computers, and its products sold well, Intel responded by withholding HP's fourth quarter 2004 rebate check and refusing to waive HP's failure to achieve its targeted rebate goal; it allowed HP to make up the shortfall in succeeding quarters by promising Intel at least 90% of HP's mainstream retail business.

    *Threatening retaliation against customers for introducing AMD computer platforms, particularly in strategic market segments such as commercial desktop;

    *Then-Compaq CEO Michael Capellas said in 2000 that because of the volume of business given to AMD, Intel withheld delivery of critical server chips. Saying "he had a gun to his head," he told AMD he had to stop buying.

    That sounds pretty damning.
    • Re:Interesting (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ILikeRed ( 141848 )
      It makes me sad to say this, but we really do need some kind of law against "rebates" and, what does Microsoft call it, "matching marketing funds"? These companies can not play fairly, and these accounting tricks need to be outlawed because that is all they are - accounting tricks to obscure bribes. Maybe something along the lines of outlawing these shady accounting practices for all publicly traded companies.
      • Re:Interesting (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jafac ( 1449 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @11:44AM (#12932055) Homepage
        It makes me sad to say this, but in the current political climate within the US, I don't think that any of this (what you're asking for) is going to happen.

        Much of the late-90's dotcom boom was predicated on the 1996 PSLR Act. This act was Clinton's ONLY Veto, over a Republican Congress, and they overrode him on it. This law opened the floodgates for corporate accounting fraud and corruption on an unprecedented scale, and only a very few of the criminals were ever caught or punished, including Enron, Worldcom, Citibank, Krispy Kreme, Arthur Anderson, Veritas, AOL, etc. etc. ad nauseum. The ones who were punished were given very minor slaps on the wrist, as a token gesture during a very brief era of symbolic regulatory tightening that began in late 2001, and ended recently with the appointment of Cox as SEC head.

        Cox was the criminal bastard who WROTE the PSLR Act. So the brief era of symbolic regulatory tightening on oversight of corporate accounting practices has ended. It is now open season on shareholders, and especially consumers. I predict that this AMD action will go about as far as Netscapes complaint against Microsoft. A long, drawn out, and profitably-entertaining courtroom drama, AMD will falter and die, somewhere along the way, and in the end, a slap on the wrist for Intel.

        Some of the folks who support this kind of wild-west business climate simply have a loyalty to their rich crony-capitalist buddies. Others have a more nationalistic ideology (They're an American company, we have to protect them so they can compete internationally - look what's happened to Boeing, they're effectively a jumbo-jet monopoly, but they're getting their asses handed to them by Airbus). In the end, companies like Intel, or Boeing, end up with no competition - and of course, it makes them still weaker. You think the Chrysler bail-out by the government had nothing to do with their eventual buy-out by Daimler? Corporate Welfare, whether by direct bailout, deregulation, or preferential treatment, or even special tax breaks, breeds nothing but dependent Corporate Welfare Queens. ONLY competition, in a fair, intelligently regulated marketplace, will breed excellence.
    • Re:Interesting (Score:4, Insightful)

      by myrick ( 893932 ) * <`amyrick' `at' `'> on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @10:16AM (#12931071) Journal
      This does sound pretty damning, but I still want to hear Intel's side of this story. Personally, I've always preferred AMD chips over Intel chips, and I think that if AMD is successful here, it will do great things for that company. I will, however, take these claims with a grain of salt. Many people identify with AMD as the underdog with an undersung product (I sure do), and are often quick to side with them. Intel may have legitimate reasons behind all of their business practices, and since these comments and 'facts' have come through what I like to call "the AMD filter," I would like to see the story through "the Intel filter" as well. Perhaps then we will be able to see glimmers of the truth, and be able to decide fairly if Intel really did overstep their bounds. I know who I'm rooting for, but it doesn't make it any less important to gather the facts.
  • by DeafDumbBlind ( 264205 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @09:58AM (#12930862)
    At least while the lawsuit is ongoing, Intel will likely be more careful about its practices, so vendors might offer more AMD systems. I doubt that Dell will jump on board, but it's be nice to see some Thinkpad or Viao A64 based systems.

    In the end, Intel will pay a fine and agree to not do anymore what they never admitted to doing in the first place.
    • I've actually bitched at our IBM xSeries marketing rep about this already.

      I don't expect them to drop in Opterons into the x446 models because that had so much in the way of custom enginering (used to be called Summit - not sure of the new name) but damnit I'm tired of ordering my x336 and x346 models with EMT64. I would much rather have Opterons.

      Then again I'd love to have dual-core dual proc opterons in xSeries line soon too.
  • by The_Isle_of_Mark ( 713212 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @09:58AM (#12930864)
    They need to drum up more exposure, what better way that an anti-trust case? I'm not saying they don't have one, I am sure they are privy to info I am not, but isn't it great AMD advertising?
    • by Iriel ( 810009 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @10:12AM (#12931018) Homepage
      And there's more. While I'm not the expert on this, it seems quite possible that AMD has had this case ready to go for some time now. There was a sudden rush for 64-bit (despite many software shortcomings to suit the architecture), and then the realtively short gap before the dual-cores hit the market. With this kind of CPU war that I've been seeing, it's not only (great | just plain) publicity, but it's well timed. How many of the major online custom PC builders offer the AMD X2? Not as many as the Intel dual-core.

      Methinks, AMD hopes to turn the tide from being the niche market of gamers/power users to a gereral audience.

      I just hope, for thier sake, that this all works out. I hope, for my sake, that an X2 will finally be affordable for me :)
  • This is fun (Score:5, Funny)

    by KrisCowboy ( 776288 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @09:58AM (#12930869) Journal
    We got 64-bit processors, dual-core processors and dual-core dual processors. Now we got a legal fight. This sure is fun. Wait a second, either one of them planning to lower the prices? I'm all for the spoils :-)
  • well, while we should "check those links" and really _use_ that preview button, CmdrTaco doesnt have to do so, apparently ;)

    It should read "AMD Files Antitrust Lawsuit Against Intel" of course. JFYI.
  • by stinerman ( 812158 ) <> on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @09:59AM (#12930874) Homepage
    Intel's share of this critical market currently counts for about 80 percent of worldwide sales by unit volume and 90 percent by revenue, giving it entrenched monopoly ownership and super-dominant market power.

    I was under the assumption that most homemade PCs were AMD systems. Is that statistic including those?
    • If users want AMD and suppliers only deliver Intel, then something is clearly wrong.

    • by Twanfox ( 185252 )
      You mistake something. AMD can count it's sales per chip to whomever, OEM or home builder, just like Intel can. It doesn't matter to whom the chips go. When you talk about 'per unit' sales, for Intel and AMD, they're talking about 'processors' as the unit, not OEM PCs.
  • Patent insanity (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Theo de Raabt ( 893376 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @09:59AM (#12930879) Homepage
    I wonder if situations like this will ever come about in future, where global patents will ENSURE monopolistic practice, legitimised through legislation. No appeals or crying foul against the sort of practices Intel and Microsoft appear to favor, only the patent holder gets protection. Consider a 1980's where Intel had patented-down the hatches on the x86 architecture - there'd be no AMD, there'd by not Cyrix, Winchip, Transmeta, VIA least not making the same architecture. Maybe this would have been a good thing, the x86 bastard-child architecture we've all ended up with is nothing to be proud of. It's not too late for CPU diversity, come on AMD time to make something new!
  • Read the document (Score:3, Informative)

    by rwven ( 663186 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @10:02AM (#12930903)
    It's amazing how much dirt AMD has on intel if you read their suit document. I think it's safe to say that the only way intel will win this one is if they pay off the judge...which given their history they just might try... ;-P This has been a long time coming and it's definatley about dang time...
  • by Theo de Raabt ( 893376 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @10:05AM (#12930942) Homepage
    One good thing about AMD CPUs... I can select AMD and it will be transparent to me as a user. Thus I am free to choose my CPU based on price and other considerations, if I can find one offered.

    The Microsoft monopoly is entirely different. Locked in by habit to Windows, most users have a very difficult time switching to Linux. It is also nearly impossible to buy a mainstream computer without Windows. Now that is a monopoly!

    All Intel users should be very thankful for AMD. Just think how much Intel chips would cost, if not for AMD. Likewise, Windows users should be very thankful for Linux. Without Linux, Microsoft (which has never innovated in its history) would not even have to play catch-up and improve its product (see IE vs. Firefox).

    So, I say go AMD and Linux (I use both) and you should agree even if you use WinTel.
  • Has Happened Before (Score:4, Interesting)

    by darkmeridian ( 119044 ) <> on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @10:05AM (#12930955) Homepage
    Intel clearly has a monopoly on x86 chips. The FTC got Intel to join a consent decree because Intel had responded to a patent infringement suit by Intergraph by cutting off data and data kits to Intergraph. So Microsoft has been sued, now it's Intel's turn.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @10:11AM (#12931004) y/2003-09-16-intel_x.htm []

    AMD made most of the same charges in 2001 and the FTC dropped it in 2003.
  • AMD and Dell (Score:4, Interesting)

    by everphilski ( 877346 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @10:16AM (#12931070) Journal
    ... Dell uses the AMD argument just to f*ck with intel. I mean seriously. Think about it. Why would they introduce another chip line into low end machines, when their customer base is 90% clueless about computers? They say "oooh, lets look at AMD chips" to get Intel riled up into offering them a deal on the next batch of chips.

    Intel? A Monopoly? Not a chance. 80% market share isn't a monopoly. Incentives don't make you a monopolist. You can't compare Intel to DeBeers (who won't put an office in the US cause they know the second they do, their ass is gone). Not even to Microsoft.
    • Re:AMD and Dell (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      "Why would they introduce another chip line into low end machines, when their customer base is 90% clueless about computers?"

      Are you really that stupid? Assuming that 90% really are clueless (even though it probably isn't), then we can safely assume (notice I said safely and not soundly) that those in the 90% do not care about what chip lines are used. Dell could then switch to AMD and chop maybe $25 off and have a cheaper machine. It wouldn't matter to the end user because everything would still 'just wo
    • Re:AMD and Dell (Score:3, Informative)

      You can't compare Intel to DeBeers (who won't put an office in the US cause they know the second they do, their ass is gone)

      Their first retail store in the United States opened on June 23, 2005, though the opening was picketed by protesters from Survival International, who claimed a link between the mining of diamonds and the genocide of Gana and Gwi bushmen by the Botswana government. Gloria Steinem was at the forefront of the protests, urging American consumers to boycott the store
  • by shaitand ( 626655 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @10:36AM (#12931254) Journal
    The article mentions Intel withholding rebate checks.

    Is there anyone who feels rebates are legit anyway? The things should be outlawed for a number of reasons.

    * Interest - money bears interest, delays in recieving it means the manufacturer keeps the potential interest.

    * Honoring - Many companies 'lose' 30-50% of rebates submitted.

    * Tax evasion - Companies claim loses on unsold and destroyed merchandise at the before rebate price. Since rebates only allow companies to bring the price to what is competative in the market this means unfair greater values claimed at tax time.
  • Makes you wonder (Score:3, Insightful)

    by KingBahamut ( 615285 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @10:37AM (#12931270)
    If Apple was pushed, now doesnt it?

    Whats really sad about most of all of this is that AMD's product out performs a large portion of Intel's products.

    Yet companies like HP and Dell hold on to Intel like it was a mewling babe in need of a mothers teet.

    This story ,,2000061702 ,39160769,00.htm [], from last year rings true. Itanium procs dont compete. So if AMD has a better product, why shouldnt it attemp to push antitrust. Even if companies are undercutting Intel by guilting them into selling for cheaper prices , its still a form of monopoly. Likely they encourage it.

    Im reminded of Ballmer offering the germans a 90% discount on good/services if they didnt take a FOSS solution earlier this year.

    Monopolies suck.

  • It's True (Score:4, Funny)

    by airship ( 242862 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @10:58AM (#12931504) Homepage
    I was just THINKING about building a boxen with an AMD processor in it, and the doorbell rang. It was three guys in black suits and dark sunglasses. They told me they were from Intel, and they tied me up, beat me with a rubber hose, ate all my pretzels, drank all my beer, and shot my dog. They said they'd kill me if I didn't buy Intel. Believe me, after that, I built my boxen using an Intel processor! And I started wearing a tinfoil hat, too.
  • by loose canons ( 823774 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @11:04AM (#12931567)
    In the US, Intel is such a hero to the US govt that DOJ will not make it easy for AMD to hurt Intel. But in Japan, Intel was plain and simple guilty according to many stories such as this [] and Intel finally admitted as much in their settlement [] with the Japanese. AMD should bring suit in Japan perhaps?

    I remembered how that charge against Intel played out because I submitted that story to /. back on March 8 but it wasn't interesting then I guess.
  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @11:09AM (#12931644) Homepage
    The complaint's history section is an interesting and telling story about how AMD came to enter and, in fact, created the x86 commodity market. I had no knowledge prior to this that IBM's requirement that there be a second supplier of x86 processors was responsible for AMD's birth as a PC processor maker.

    And further, I was unaware of Intel's arrangement with AMD and how they screwed AMD over by holding back information and in the case of the 386 (a very significant milestone in processor development) Intel maliciously held back on their agreement to stall AMD from playing in that field.

    I recall clearly when AMD was no longer allowed to make Intel pin-compatible processors... that was a disappointment to me in a big way because not only did I have to select a processor, but a motherboard as well! Annoying... and now I know I can blame Intel for that. At first, I thought it was just fair since they wanted to keep AMD from catching up. But now I see it was, more or less, part of Intel breaking their agreement with AMD!! Nice one Intel... I'm not as pound to have Intel inside my Dell laptop now...
  • OK So...... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mormop ( 415983 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @05:25PM (#12935855)
    The company who's CEO testified on Microsoft's side in the Windows anti-trust hearings is crying about Intel's unfair practices and I'm supposed to be how sympathetic?

    Having said that, I don't think I've used an Intel chip in a PC that I've specced for about 4 years but I find it hard to shed any tears.

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