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Intel Receives Record Fine By the EU

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the going-for-the-high-score dept.

Intel 469

Firefalcon writes "Intel has been fined a record 1.06 billion euros ($1.45 billion / £948 million) by the European Competition Commission after being found guilty of anti-competitive practices. This makes Microsoft's 497 million euro fine in 2004 (which was a record at the time) seem like a slap on the hand. Reports had previously suggested that the fine would be similar to Microsoft's. Intel was charged (among other things) with encouraging manufacturers and retailers to purchase fewer (or even not stock) AMD processors. More details of the ruling are on the European Commission's Competition website. Intel said they will appeal the fine."

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469 comments

But where does all that money go? (1, Interesting)

mc1138 (718275) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936141)

Without knowing exactly where it goes I can only speculate, but could this fine by so high to help fix European budgets stretched too thin by a weak economy?

Re:But where does all that money go? (2, Insightful)

nicolas.kassis (875270) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936159)

Possibly, but here that would be a drop in the ocean. I wonder if the DOJ will do the same.

Re:But where does all that money go? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936643)

"Every penny counts in balancing the budget." - Obama. No matter. Intel's not going to pay this 1500 million dollar fine. They'll just hire more lawyers and keep dragging it out for several years, and only end-up paying a few million.

Re:But where does all that money go? (3, Insightful)

rbarreira (836272) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936189)

Yeah I'm sure the 2 for each EU resident will save the whole continent

That was 2 Euros of course (3, Interesting)

rbarreira (836272) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936231)

2 Euros (why does Slashdot not display the Euro sign correctly when pretty much every other internet forum does?)...

Re:That was 2 Euros of course (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27936339)

(why does Slashdot not display the Euro sign correctly when pretty much every other internet forum does?)

Just to piss you off.

Re:That was 2 Euros of course (3, Interesting)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936387)

I was going ot be a smart arse and say 'What, like this? followed by the symbol. It shows when you enter it (alt+0128) but not when you preview the result. Bizarre. Might be a font issue though as you enter it as Courier but it's displayed as Ariel.

Re:That was 2 Euros of course (4, Informative)

tsalmark (1265778) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936467)

ampersand euro semicolon works in my preview: €

Re:That was 2 Euros of course (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936529)

So it does - excellent! (€)

Re:That was 2 Euros of course (5, Informative)

rackserverdeals (1503561) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936403)

why does Slashdot not display the Euro sign correctly when pretty much every other internet forum does?

because of the encoding they use in their html. It is ISO-8859-1 not UTF-8

Since when did /. start letting in non-geeks? :P

Re:That was 2 Euros of course (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27936561)

actually iso 8859-1 doesn't contain the euro sign.

you probably mean iso 8859-15

Re:That was 2 Euros of course (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27936499)

You must be new here.

Slashdot sucks at displaying pretty much anything

Re:That was 2 Euros of course (1)

Mishotaki (957104) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936735)

2 Euros (why does Slashdot not display the Euro sign correctly when pretty much every other internet forum does?)...

try gametrailers.com forums... they hate europeans so much that their forums deletes everything after an euro or pound sign...

Re:But where does all that money go? (1)

mc1138 (718275) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936419)

Well I'm sure it won't get passed on to normal citizens, more likely will help pad budgets for government programs that may or may not help citizens.

Re:But where does all that money go? (4, Insightful)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936253)

Without knowing exactly where it goes I can only speculate, but could this fine by so high to help fix European budgets stretched too thin by a weak economy?

No, it would not even be enough to fix the buget of a single EU country, but high enough that intel basically feels a smack on the hand,

besides that the entire thing now goes into revision several times and by the time everything is settled the economy crisis is over.

Re:But where does all that money go? (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936255)

>help fix European budgets
Hardly. 1Bn is a drop in the ocean compared to the hundreds of billions being spent across Europe (and elsewhere) shoring up the economies.

Re:But where does all that money go? (1)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936391)

Without knowing exactly where it goes I can only speculate, but could this fine by so high to help fix European budgets stretched too thin by a weak economy?

No. The fine is a minor annoyance for Intel, and it's a tiny, tiny drop in the bucket compared to the budget holes of most European countries.

Re:But where does all that money go? (2, Funny)

biocute (936687) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936393)

Depends when Intel has to pay for it.

In 2020, this "Record Fine" is probably worth 2 CPUs.

Which is why all these records are meaningless.

Re:But where does all that money go? (5, Informative)

evohe80 (737760) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936629)

According to the NYTimes article http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/14/business/global/14compete.html [nytimes.com] , the fine has to be paid right away. The money is placed in a bank account until further appeals are resolved.

Re:But where does all that money go? (0, Flamebait)

FictionPimp (712802) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936771)

Doing business with the EU is just too risky. If I was intel I'd pay my fine and get out.

Business risks (2, Informative)

AlecC (512609) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936847)

No - it is still tiny compared to the profits Intel makes.

The chip business is dominated by design costs - the manufacturing cost of each chip is relatively small, even for bigh CPUs. So once you have done the design, the return on extra sales is huge. So you don't want to leave out any significant market.

Also, European companies view business in the US as risky because of tort law: if your component is used in something that causes harm, you can get sued to your underwear even if it is misused.

Re:But where does all that money go? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27936497)

From the accompanying memo:

http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=MEMO/09/235&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en [europa.eu]

Where does the money go?

Once final judgment has been delivered in any appeals before the Court of First Instance (CFI) and the Court of Justice, the money goes into the EUs central budget, thus reducing the contributions that Member States pay to the EU.

Re:But where does all that money go? (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936621)

Britain alone needs around £3 trillion to sort out its banking system. This is just loose change.

Where it goes is kind of meaningless (2, Funny)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936687)

the fact that people don't understand where it comes from is more important.

As in, everything sold by intel in effect passes the cost of this judgment to the people buying the product. Since the dollar amount truly is not significant to alter intel's behavior this just becomes and embedded tax.

Really, I see the EU as Dr. Evil making a demand for an amount of money which is meaningless in today's term and Intel's board just laughing it off.

Re:Where it goes is kind of meaningless (1)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936741)

the fact that people don't understand where it comes from is more important.

People understand that very well.

As in, everything sold by intel in effect passes the cost of this judgment to the people buying the product.

And since people aren't forced to buy Intels products, they can look at less expensive alternatives.

Flamebait? Really? (-1, Troll)

mc1138 (718275) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936779)

Wow slashdot, wow...

Intel Appealing? (-1, Redundant)

Firefalcon (7323) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936149)

I can't see the appeal doing much except perhaps reducing the fine somewhat...

Re:Intel Appealing? (5, Funny)

v1 (525388) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936235)

wow, never saw that coming

Re:Intel Appealing? (5, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936543)

Now witness the final battle between Captain Obvious and the Mighty Sarcasmo!

Re:Intel Appealing? (5, Funny)

stjobe (78285) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936599)

Well played, Sir, well played indeed.

Now do you have any suggestions for drying coffee out of a keyboard?

Re:Intel Appealing? (1)

moon3 (1530265) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936481)

With $1.45 billion on the table.

Any law firm would go nuts to have a piece of that action. Even to reduce the fine by 1%, that is still well over million dollars..

How to get out of a recession in 2 easy steps.. (1, Funny)

Pvt_Ryan (1102363) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936151)

Step 1: Find a large wealthy company.
Step 2: Fine them for anti-competitive behaviour.

Re:How to get out of a recession in 2 easy steps.. (4, Informative)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936373)

Sorry to shatter your worldview here, 1 and 2 are not related. The fine is not even close to help out of any recession...

Re:How to get out of a recession in 2 easy steps.. (-1, Troll)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936545)

Who says the EU plans to stop with just Intel? I suspect they'll be hitting a lot more non-European companies with these fines if the recession continues (European companies will get a free pass, of course).

Re:How to get out of a recession in 2 easy steps.. (5, Informative)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936611)

Who says the EU plans to stop with just Intel? I suspect they'll be hitting a lot more non-European companies with these fines if the recession continues (European companies will get a free pass, of course).

As they've slapped plenty of EU companies with fines for anticompetitive behavior, your accusations are fairly unfounded.

Re:How to get out of a recession in 2 easy steps.. (3, Insightful)

TheP4st (1164315) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936705)

A bit like how the US invaded a Iraq (on false pretenses) causing billions of dollars worth of damage. Brought in US giant companies to rebuild the country and then starting whining about how the rest of the world should contribute to the reconstruction?
Could also be explained something like this...
1. Burn down your neighbours house.
2. Contract your Brother to rebuild it.
3. Get kickback from your brother.
4. Profit!!!

Re:How to get out of a recession in 2 easy steps.. (1)

TheP4st (1164315) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936733)

Gah!!!, should have been Iraq, not "a Iraq".

Free Pass? (3, Interesting)

Firefalcon (7323) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936715)

(European companies will get a free pass, of course).

Like EDF [europa.eu] , Groupement des Cartes Bancaires [europa.eu] , or Telekomunikacja Polska and Slovak Telekom [europa.eu] are then?

Re:Free Pass? (0, Redundant)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936793)

I stand corrected. But I still maintain that the EU doesn't plan to just stop with Intel. The recession just gives them more impetus to go after some big names. I suspect MS and Apple are in their sights as well (particularly given their grumblings [internetnews.com] over Apple and the iTunes/iPod lock-in in recent years).

Re:How to get out of a recession in 2 easy steps.. (1)

iamhigh (1252742) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936765)

Did I hear a WHOOOSH?!?!?

Re:How to get out of a recession in 2 easy steps.. (5, Informative)

InsurrctionConsltant (1305287) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936485)

I know it's a joke, and mod me down for being a poopsack, but it's important to be clear that what Intel's been fined for is some nasty shit, and there's little question they're guilty. LA Times has a good write up:

"The Commission finds that Intel did not compete fairly, frustrating innovation and reducing consumer welfare in the process," Neelie Kroes, the European Commissioner for Competition Policy, said at a Brussels news conference announcing the fine. "Given that Intel has harmed millions of European consumers by deliberately acting to keep competitors out of the market for over five years, the size of the fine should come as no surprise."

The violations took place between 2002 and 2007, when Intel controlled at least 70% of the world market for microprocessors, Kroes said.

"Intel awarded major computer manufacturers rebates on condition that they purchased all or almost all of their supplies, at least in certain defined segments, from Intel," the Commission concluded.

...

The Europeans began their investigation in July 2007, and their findings should help U.S. regulators, said David Balto, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and a former antitrust official at the FTC and the Department of Justice. He noted that Intel also has been found in violation of antitrust laws by Japan and Korea.

"The relief that the Europeans imposed I think will provide an excellent guide to U.S. enforcers as they try to determine what to do about Intel's exclusionary conduct," Balto said today.

...

"Their website invites visitors to add their 'vision of tomorrow,' " [Kroes] said. "Well, I can give my vision of tomorrow for Intel here and now: "Obey the law"."

Link [latimes.com] .

Re:How to get out of a recession in 2 easy steps.. (2, Interesting)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936677)

"The Commission finds that Intel did not compete fairly"

Not to be too harsh about it, but has ANY company ever really "competed fairly"? It seems to me that if you're playing fair, you're usually not really competing (not in the top tier anyway). Sure, there are great companies like Canonical [wikipedia.org] who are playing fairly in the OS market, for example, but are they really "competing" when the much more cutthroat Apple and MS consistently control 99% of the OS market and shut them out of every mainstream retailer? Sad as it is to say, you almost HAVE to play dirty to "compete" in any real sense. I certainly bet a lot of clean professional athletes must have felt that way when they saw guys like McGwire, Bonds, etc. knocking them out of the park while they struggled.

Re:How to get out of a recession in 2 easy steps.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27936783)

And that's the problem. Companies with shareholders are required by law to compete as hard as they can. They are also required not to engage in unlawful anticompetitive behavior. Unfortunately, the line between lawful and unlawful competition isn't precise, and ultimately depends on the judgement of a court. In practice, lawful competition is as much as you can get away with. As much as we enjoy abusing Microsoft and now Intel, they are in a hard position (not that I wouldn't mind having their problems).

Re:How to get out of a recession in 2 easy steps.. (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936849)

I wouldn't mind their money, but I also like that I can sleep at night with a clear conscience. I'm just not cutthroat enough to be a CEO of one of these companies myself. Maybe I'm a sap, but I would probably be one of the clean athletes getting pwned by Bonds, but at least knowing that MY record was real (and would never have an asterisk after it).

Re:How to get out of a recession in 2 easy steps.. (1)

xenolion (1371363) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936531)

I think your wanting to say "how to be a politician." also you would need to add: Step 3: Claim this will help the consumers (when in reality Intel will just add 2% onto their chip prices to cover the fines like any company does when fined)

Re:How to get out of a recession in 2 easy steps.. (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936709)

>>>Intel will just add 2% onto their chip prices to cover the fines

Then buy the cheaper IBM, Motorola, or AMD chips instead.

Re:How to get out of a recession in 2 easy steps.. (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936739)

And AMD won't be adding 2% onto their prices, so they will be at an advantage.

Actually, I don't think Intel will add it onto their chip prices. If they can get away with charging an extra 2%, they would have done it regardless of any fines they have to pay. As they now face a more competitive AMD, they will likely have to drop prices.

Re:How to get out of a recession in 2 easy steps.. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27936811)

I must agree, this seems like EU is not even in the business entirely, but they can sure make some money out of it! I would love it if Intel said "No! We won't pay, and we're withdrawing from Europe - No more Intel chips in EU" But they won't, they'll knuckle under. They also do.

From the horse's mouth (0)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936153)

Intel's "crime": "'Intel awarded major computer manufacturers rebates on condition that they purchased all or almost all of their supplies, at least in certain defined segments, from Intel.'

This is called "volume discounting". Office Max and Sam's Club are guilty of similar "crimes" and "anticompetitive" behavior, it seems.

Such a bullshit violation of the right to set the terms of your contract. When you sign a contract with a company offering a product or service, do you merely read the terms of the agreement, or do you also consider the consequences on your lost service to other companies? Of course you don't do the latter, but that's what the EU claims you must do.

Re:From the horse's mouth (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27936201)

There's a bit of a difference between offering a volume discount and a discount that specifically hinges on you not purchasing a competitor's products.

Re:From the horse's mouth (1)

backwardMechanic (959818) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936323)

Especially when the competition happen to be quite a lot smaller than you are. I good day for AMD, and freedom for real competition. I can put up with straight bananas for this.

Re:From the horse's mouth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27936225)

The difference between a requirement to buy office supplies from Office Max, and a discount for buying in bulk, should be obvious even to a Slashdotter.

The EU claims no such thing.

Re:From the horse's mouth (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936385)

Yeah. The difference is about a billion Euros

Re:From the horse's mouth (5, Insightful)

Pulzar (81031) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936237)

This is called "volume discounting".

Volume discounting means "buy more and we give you a discount". What they were doing was "don't buy from others and we give you a discount.. you don't even have to buy more from us". There's a very clear difference between that and Sam's Club's discounts.

Re:From the horse's mouth (1)

imashination (840740) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936241)

Office max and sams club dont threaten to revoke your rebate if you go down the road and also decide to buy something from another store.

Re:From the horse's mouth (5, Informative)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936261)

I think the difference here is that Office Max can't give you a bulk discount contingent on you not buy from staples.

Ex (ok):
Office Max: Pens are $1/ea, but if you buy 100,000+, they are $0.75/ea
Ex (not ok):
Office Max: Pens are $1/ea, but if you buy 100,000+ AND no more than 10% of your purchased inventory comes from our competators, they are $0.75/ea

Re:From the horse's mouth (1)

Andy_R (114137) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936271)

Office Max and Sam's Club are not in a monopoly position, so the laws on monopoly abuse don't affect them. If they became monopolies, they would indeed have to stop anticompetitive behaviour.

All the EU claims you must not do is leverage a monopoly position to crush your opposition, which is a very sensible law indeed.

Re:From the horse's mouth (5, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936277)

Intel's "crime": "'Intel awarded major computer manufacturers rebates on condition that they purchased all or almost all of their supplies, at least in certain defined segments, from Intel.'

This is called "volume discounting". Office Max and Sam's Club are guilty of similar "crimes" and "anticompetitive" behavior, it seems.

You are wrong because a rebate happens after the fact. A volume discount is provided up front. Intel has always provided volume discounts, and still does, and nobody is complaining about that. The complaint is that intel is instead promising to give money if the manufacturer shuns AMD, then delivering the payment. This is similar to Microsoft threatening to raise OEM prices if OEMs bundled certain software or sold machines with other operating systems installed.

The Commission decision found Intel guilty of two practises [theregister.co.uk] - of offering PC makers rebates for buying all, or most, of their chips from Intel. Secondly it was found guilty of making direct payments to a retailer if it only stocked Intel machines.

The second case is pretty clearly anticompetitive; the first case is, after thinking about it for like two fucking seconds also quite anticompetitive. You're FREE to say "if you buy ten times as many units from me, I'll give you a discount." That's not what's happening here. Instead, it's "I'll give you this great price, but only if you don't buy anything from my competitor." Maybe you think that should be legal, okay. But it's still different from a volume discount.

Mod up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27936375)

I'd mod this up, but I don't have any mod points...

(Well ACs don't get mod points, but on my other account)

Re:From the horse's mouth (1)

lalena (1221394) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936283)

Offering discounts and requiring a certain number of units to be sold to get that discount is legal. Limiting the number of units they buy from the competition or not allowing them to sell AMD is not legal.
To follow the OfficeMax example, the more paper I buy from OfficeMax, the better my discount. OfficeMax doesn't revoke my discount if I buy something from Staples - as long as I hit the agreed upon quota to receive the discount.

Re:From the horse's mouth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27936295)

Volume discounting is just fine, as long as you don't require your client not to shop at your competitor's store.

Re:From the horse's mouth (4, Informative)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936325)

There is a difference between a 10 year old kid threatening to beat up you and your mom and a professional soldier doing the same thing, while holding a loaded rifle.

It is legal and ethical for a non-monoplistic company to offer volume discounts.

It is NOT legal and NOT legal for the single biggest chip maker to insist you don't buy their competitor's product except in minimalistic amounts.

The differences are

1. Volume discounts are not affected by your purchases from a competitor. They are simple standardized discounts.

2.When you are so big and powerful that your clients literally fill threatened and has no choice but to acccept the terms of your contract, then yes the government DOES get to affect the terms of the contract.

Re:From the horse's mouth (1)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936379)

No, it's more like... well, imagine I have a fast food joint.

Burger: $ 5.
Special offer: 3 burgers for $ 10.

Now, that is fine. What Intel did was more like:

Burger: $ 5.
Special offer: 3 burgers for $ 10, as long as you swear to not buy anything from that other restaurant across the street.

Re:From the horse's mouth (1)

bagorange (1531625) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936535)

Don't let the truth get in the way of your fervent belief that the EU is a bunch corrupt filthy, socialist pigs who simply cannot let the holy market do its wondrous work.

They offered a discount if customers promised not to use competitor's products.

Seems to me like a perversion of market purity. They should be cast into the flames to be purged, no?

How did they pick the number? (5, Funny)

niceone (992278) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936169)

1.066 GigaEuros - a number Intel can understand?

Re:How did they pick the number? (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936299)

Oh NOES!!! My GigaEuroes haev been fined!

Re:How did they pick the number? (0, Troll)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936601)

Lazy damned Euros, not a hard working honest currency like the USD. Perhaps if they hadn't taken in all those worthless good for nothing Lyre, they wouldn't have any trouble paying for Intel's misdeeds.

Re:How did they pick the number? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27936593)

That was funny in 1993. Back in 2007, I bought 400 AMD CPUs with a design flaw in every chip.

Fortunately, we use Linux and there was a software patch for the hardware CPU error just like there is a patch in Linux for the Intel floating point bug.

If we ran a propriatary OS, we would have been out of about $1 million.

Re:How did they pick the number? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27936639)

1.0543534 GigaEU calculated on a Pentium..

Still just a slap on the wrist (2, Insightful)

Pulzar (81031) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936191)

It's still just a slap on the wrist. They've profited an order of magnitude more from the illegal tactics they used, and this just says "It's ok to break the law, as long as you give us a cut of the profits".

They should at least give a part of the fine to AMD to help them fight Intel -- that would hurt Intel a lot more than paying a fine to EU, and make them think twice before doing this again.

Re:Still just a slap on the wrist (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936297)

I'm not sure giving it to AMD would be right in this situation, but at the same time, it is a rather small slap in the wrist. A better spending would be to look at all of Intels competitors in all segments, and possibly do some name-recognition PR (not designed to make the competitor look good or bad, just simply to put the name in the playing field).

Re:Still just a slap on the wrist (5, Insightful)

Andy_R (114137) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936313)

This is just the fine for doing this in the EU, I'm sure the courts in the rest of the world will be happy to add their own penalties for their own jurisdictions, and I'm sure that in many jurisdictions AMD (and other chip makers) will be able to claim damages too.

Re:Still just a slap on the wrist (5, Informative)

Pecisk (688001) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936423)

Well, Euro fines doesn't work that way. First, you get initial warning and fine. After that, you got monitored for years for repeated abuse. If that happens - slap, another fine, possibly even bigger. In the end, Intel will have to comply. Because it's ain US, where you can drag out case in the court. You have to pay fine first.

Daily Fact (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27936199)

Did you know that European Union's main industry consists of hefty fines for American companies?

I'm not a big supporter of Intel's practices, and a strong opponent of anything Microsoft does, but come the fuck on! Is that money going to be disbursed to AMD for lost business? EU anti-trust body has become a sick joke.

Re:Daily Fact (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27936591)

Fine by me, you corporate fascists can go to hell.

Re:Daily Fact (5, Informative)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936649)

Did you know that European Union's main industry consists of hefty fines for American companies?

Err, no? And last I checked, it wasn't the case.

I'm not a big supporter of Intel's practices, and a strong opponent of anything Microsoft does, but come the fuck on! Is that money going to be disbursed to AMD for lost business?

No. Why should it? This isn't a civil suit of Intel vs. AMD. Intel is being punished for breaking the law.

EU anti-trust body has become a sick joke.

Why, because they actually do what they're supposed to be doing? You have an odd definition of "sick joke" there.

Re:Daily Fact (1, Flamebait)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936743)

Did you know the American companies seem to break the law a lot?

The Charges (-1, Flamebait)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936205)

"encouraging manufacturers and retailers to purchase fewer (or even not stock) AMD processors."

How could that possibly be illegal? Sounds like a necessary part of business?... Anyways the whole case sounds like the Micheal Jackson scandal. 'Who needs proof? He's creepy and rich just give the mother who sent her children there repeatedly a few million dollars'.

Sounds like a money grab from someone who thinks Intel just has too much money (Disclaimer I did not RTFA as per tradition)

Re:The Charges (1)

Sonic McTails (700139) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936265)

It's illegal when its anti-competitive and forcing other manufacturers out of the marketplace. In addition, there are things that are illegal for monopolies that are legal for other companies (although I'm not sure if Intel been deemed a monopoly in the Eurozone).

Re:The Charges (5, Insightful)

bigtomrodney (993427) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936357)

Sounds like a necessary part of business?...

No. This behaviour is anticompetitive. It deprives consumers of choice and the benefits of healthy competition such as lower prices. It is one thing to severely undercut your competitor...that's basic competition and part of free market trading.

However, preventing the competitor from even being considered at consumer level benefits no one but Intel. OEMs are strongarmed, consumers have less choice, competitors go out of business. This is the Monsanto of chip business.

Re:The Charges (5, Informative)

TheP4st (1164315) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936405)

"encouraging manufacturers and retailers to purchase fewer (or even not stock) AMD processors." How could that possibly be illegal?

How about this "In addition to providing rebates to manufacturers that bought almost entirely Intel products, the Commission found that the chipmaker had paid them to postpone or cancel the launch of specific products based on AMD chips."

Re:The Charges (5, Insightful)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936449)

How could that possibly be illegal? Sounds like a necessary part of business?

Yes. Just like breaking a few legs is a necessary part of running a protection racket.

I saw this on a personal basis..... (5, Interesting)

rimcrazy (146022) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936221)

I was the Director of Engineering for VLSI Technology's PC Chip set division back in the 80's. Back in those days, there were dozens of companies making chip sets for Intel CPU's and Intel, surprising as it may sound, did not. The chip set business was interesting in that it started with C&T. Zymos was second and VLSI was third. By the time we got into it, and in particular, after we were picked by IBM to be their chip set provider, the bay area VC market must have been swamped with business plans of every dog and his brother wanting to start a chip company making chip sets. If you can remember too, there were hundreds and I do mean hundreds of PC companies. Fast forward a few years. Things are now pretty crazy. VLSI made it to be the top chip set supplier but the competition was intense. The hundreds of PC companies has now fallen to around 10-12. The dozens of chip set companies has fallen to 4 or 5 but still no Intel. This is around the time that the Pentium first made its debut. Now, to make a chip set, you need these very important things called "Yellow Books" ( maybe they were Red.... hmm that was a few years ago) . These are the specifications of the next CPU from a "certain" CPU manufacturer. Without the yellow books, you can't make a chip set because you have no idea what the memory interface is going to look like. If you don't know the memory or peripheral interface you can't make a north bridge for sure and your south bridge is going to be a hack. Soooooo, it was at this time that we were working on our next generation chip set for the Pentium. We were going crazy because, for some very strange reason, we had yet to get the "Yellow Books". We could and did make educated guesses as to what the memory interface should be but we did not know for sure what it would look like. Well you know what? Gee, like magic, Intel announces and samples their Triton chipset. (Which we taught them in large part how to make pursuing a CF called Polar and Draco with Intel, but that is another story.... I digress) And Andy G. tells the press how Intel was just "forced" into making their own chip sets because the external chip set vendors just could not keep up. Oh yea, gee wizzz, we get the specs the same week you sample and yea, we just can't keep up can we. Where it really got interesting is when we got our chipset out and our sales team was trying to sell to our customers, which now as I said is a VERY short list, it seems a certain "I" company was bundling their chip sets with their CPU's. You, as a PC company, "could" buy just CPU's from them for price A or you could buy CPU's + Chip set for price B. I let you guess which was the larger. Oh, yea, and if you selected the A option. They ( the "I" company) could not guarantee delivery.

So, we went from $250M/year in sales to $25M/year in sales in 12 months. Our division was decimated. I have never seen anything, short of last Octobers stock market, fall so hard and so fast.

In retrospect, I don't blame Intel for getting into the chip set business. Hell, I am surprised actually it took them as long as it did but both the tactics they used, and quite frankly, the stupidity of the upper management at VLSI laid waste to an incredible group of people, and at the time, a great place to work. Ah, well. That's competition. It was fun while it lasted.

Re:I saw this on a personal basis..... (1)

Foredecker (161844) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936681)

Great post. I was at AMD for a little over 6 yers until late 2003. We should compare notes.

European Union is a bunch of Commies (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27936275)

To the fucktarded commies that make up the European Union all fucking businesses=Antitrust. The European Union hates Capitalism and they are the new USSR.

Natrually this comment will be modded down by the fucktarded shitdot sheeple as they all love fucking communism. Of course they are all a bunch of fucktards who should go and collectively slit their fucking wrists anyways.

GO AHEAD FUCKING FLAME AWAY OR WASTE YOUR GODDAMNED MOD POINTS FUCKTARDED SHITDOT SHEEPLE.

Re:European Union is a bunch of Commies (4, Funny)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936789)

The Anonymous Coward read the article, tears came down his face. "Not my beloved intel!", he cried out loud.

The tears kept coming, he couldn't bare it anymore. The European Union had gone too far this time, the people had to know..

Why? (5, Insightful)

masterfpt (1435165) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936281)

It must be really worth it for these big companies to risk millions in fines to making competition suffer.

I always wondered if they really make that much more money (after the fine) or if what they really are after is the destruction of the competitor (AMD in this case)...

Re:Why? (2)

unfasten (1335957) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936819)

It must be really worth it for these big companies to risk millions in fines to making competition suffer.
I always wondered if they really make that much more money (after the fine) or if what they really

http://www.google.com/finance?fstype=ii&q=NASDAQ:INTC [google.com]

Gross Profit In Millions of USD
52 weeks ending 2008-12-27 20,844.00
52 weeks ending 2007-12-29 19,904.00
52 weeks ending 2006-12-30 18,218.00
53 weeks ending 2005-12-31 23,049.00

Sure looks like it's worth it to me.

If the allegations are true (2, Insightful)

sigxcpu (456479) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936291)

It was worth it!
I would gladly pay a 1B euro fine every decade or two if that's what it takes to keep the monopoly.
(I'm not expressing an opinion on whether the allegations are true.)

Encouraged? (1)

unl0rd (930446) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936307)

From the article..

Intel had paid manufacturers and a retailer to favour its chips.....via rebates...

I suppose this is a kind of encouragement, not what I originally thought when reading the summary however.

1.06 billion? (2, Funny)

91degrees (207121) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936409)

Why the odd 60 million tacked on the end? VAT?

Re:1.06 billion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27936633)

Why not?

Oh well (1)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936413)

I imagine the price of Intel cpus and motherboards will be increasing in the EU very soon.

Re:Oh well (4, Insightful)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936515)

I imagine the price of Intel cpus and motherboards will be increasing in the EU very soon.

Good. Very good. They will be selling less of their CPUs and motherboards, and their competition will be selling more.

Re:Oh well (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936613)

That's actually a good thing.

Maybe if computer's start becoming a bit more pricey, "Joe Sixpack" won't automatically go out and by himself a new PC just because it was advertised on a TV screen at him and his old PC is getting a bit slow just because he doesn't know how to defrag.

Even the tree-huggers will be happy with the fact that there's less computer waste to recycle...

The fine should have been higher (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27936509)

From the European Commission press release:

Intel gave rebates to computer manufacturer A from December 2002 to December 2005 conditional on this manufacturer purchasing exclusively Intel CPU

Intel made payments to computer manufacturer E provided that this manufacturer postponed the launch of an AMD-based notebook from September 2003 to January 2004.

and many other examples that no one can deny are illegal. My only complaint is that the fine should have been higher than 4% of Intel's revenues in 2008, and a part of it should be given to AMD.

Appeal the fine? (2, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936563)

I see nothing wrong with it... it is already rather appealing.

The action against Microsoft does not seem to have hindered Microsoft's behavior in the slightest and so even though tremendously more aggressive than the action against Microsoft in the U.S., it was clearly not enough.

It remains to be seen if the action against Intel will be at all effective.

Record Fine is a joke... (2, Insightful)

VinylRecords (1292374) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936655)

Step 1. Let companies profit immensely based on illegal and monopolistic practices
Step 2. Let said profits become astronomically high and ignore them for years
Step 3. Wait for EU countries to need money very badly
Step 4. Claim some of the companies' money as a fine but not enough money that it's significant to the company
Step 5. Throw a giant PR campaign around the event saying that the EU 'looks out for the people'
Step 6. ??
Step 7. ?? ...

Step. ? Revolution?

Here's the kicker... (3, Interesting)

JAlexoi (1085785) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936657)

It's not even the maximum amount they could have fined them! The max amount is 10% of annual company revenue, for Intel that would be just below 4 billion Euros., since 2008 revenue was 37 billion
And no, they cannot state that paying that fine would bankrupt them, since they have an estimated 10 billion in cash and securities.
Or so states The Financial Times.

Why does the EU hate me? (1)

samcan (1349105) | more than 5 years ago | (#27936667)

The EU must not like me...they keep fining my stock choices!

Keep moving on, EU. These aren't the droids you're looking for.

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