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Intel Fires Back At FTC In Antitrust Suit

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the digging-in-for-the-long-haul dept.

Intel 122

adeelarshad82 writes "Intel has responded to the Federal Trade Commission's antitrust investigation, unsurprisingly challenging the FTC's allegations as well as criticizing the agency for what the company calls an attempt 'to turn Intel into a public utility.' The motion is a response to the FTC's December announcement of a lawsuit brought by the FTC, accusing Intel of anti-competitive practices. Intel also goes on to provide a paragraph-by-paragraph rebuttal of the FTC's complaint and proposed remedy, although most of the company's response seems designed to promote the impression that those that failed, failed on their own."

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Nazis. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30781450)

n/t

Restraint of Trade (1)

EnderWiggnz (39214) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783918)

With Intel's restrictions on Netbooks on their Atom platform, it looks like Prima Facie evidence of restraint of trade.

Intel is going to be knocked around quite a bit, if they don't wise up.

The general problem Intel has (2, Insightful)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 4 years ago | (#30781580)

The general problem Intel has is that at a default level even before any of the facts are in, chip-making is an area where anti-trust concerns make a lot of sense, more so than they necessary do in other areas (such as software). Chip-making has massive initial start-up cost. Thus, it is like the classic economic example of the steel mill where it is almost impossible for new competitors to enter the market. Thus, even if Intel shows that they haven't actively abused their role (such as the FTC's claims about Intel threatening buyers about loss of discounts in event of them buying from competitors) there might still be a strong case for some form of intervention.

Re:The general problem Intel has (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30781782)

I wish I could find the article where Grove admits to doing some things to damage Motorola and AMD and other startups that were making chips - and he said it with pride because he was a "tough" competitor.

It's really hard to google it when several thousand puff pieces and public relations propaganda pops up - googling for info really sucks sometimes.

Ah, here it is [economist.com] - sorry, you have to be an Economist subscriber.

Except.... (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#30781800)

Thus, it is like the classic economic example of the steel mill where it is almost impossible for new competitors to enter the market.

That steelmaking is an area where a lot of people do enter the market. The USA and the UK blew up every steel mill in Germany and Japan during World War II, but, the lead the USA had in steel was destroyed not even 20 years after the war.

Re:Except.... (2, Insightful)

BlackSnake112 (912158) | more than 4 years ago | (#30782864)

Was that due to competition or what the unions did which drove costs up for the US steel plants?

Re:Except.... (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783028)

Was that due to competition or what the unions did which drove costs up for the US steel plants?

Competition - Japan has some of the best quality - and even a nearly exclusive ability to forge some parts (an example)

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601109&sid=aaVMzCTMz3ms [bloomberg.com]

it's an interesting read

Re:Except.... (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783034)

Was that due to competition or what the unions did which drove costs up for the US steel plants?

It was competition using a different technology. Have you read "The Innovator's Dilemma" by Clayton Christensen? The steel industry is one of the examples he deals with, where a change in technology forces large incumbents to be utterly trapped by business logic and their extensive installed base of a previous technology.
The unions chipped in, of course, but were far from the major factor.

Happened across the USA, actually. (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#30787562)

It was competition using a different technology.

The happened to nearly every postwar US industry. Basically, US capital stock was not destroyed, and, with no competition, there was no perceived need to invest in it, so they didn't. A lot of those plants shuttered in the 1970s and 1980s were based on 1930s tech. Presses, stamping machines, etc, were all OLD. But Japan and Germany had to start from scratch - and frankly, Japan was never industrialized even prior to WWII, so they tended to get newer equipment which, was less used up, had better tolerances, and from there, better quality.

Re:Except.... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783784)

The union is a scape goat cor US Steel plants. The act is the owners of those cmpanies sold key technology and trade secrets to other countries. For a few million dollars they sold the core asstets to countries that can get people to produce things cheaply because there cost of living was so low compared to our.

Yes there wer some issues with the union, and no they weren't saints,

Fact of the matter unions tried very hard to keep resource in the country and tried to get people to buy American. If people kept buying American, we would not be in the financial mess we are in now.

Re:The general problem Intel has (2, Insightful)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 4 years ago | (#30781832)

Interesting, and I had to put away my mod points and respond.

"it is like the classic economic example of the steel mill where it is almost impossible for new competitors to enter the market"

I suspect that if this is the theory the FTC is presenting, Intel is correctly going to counter that this is neither sufficient grounds for additional restrictions, nor is it actually a hindrance in today's or even last year's market.

There are some competitors to Intel (AMD) that don't even OWN fabrication facilities. They have access to competitive foundries that can produce their product. Similarly, competitors such as Freescale etc. also have their own foundries and can even find other manufacturers. There is a thriving boutique business for chips, and multiple CPU makers with multiple manufacturing options.

Now, if the FTC thinks Intel has an unfair advantage because they own their fabs, well, AMD chose a different route. Emphasis on CHOSE. The FTC is not chartered to address a competitor's poor choices, if indeed AMD made a poor choice in being fabless.

Intel has a good point. If the a major point of the FTC's inquiry is that they have an integrated presence in the market, then is Intel being penalized partly for merely being successful, and making good business decisions? Pah. They are in a competitive business. AMD is suffering as much for their choice in manufacturing partners as anythuing right now. Design aside.

The FTC has to do better than this.

ps - It should be obvious IANAL.

Re:The general problem Intel has (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30782026)

I think it's fairly obvious that you ANAL.

Re:The general problem Intel has (3, Insightful)

Deosyne (92713) | more than 4 years ago | (#30782074)

Yeah, there was way too much common sense in that posting to have anything to do with our legal system.

Don't you mean ... (1)

reiisi (1211052) | more than 4 years ago | (#30789256)

Yeah, there were way too many red herrings in that barrel to have anything to do with the actual case.

(Nail that barrel shut before the gulls get to it.)

Re:The general problem Intel has (5, Informative)

lorenlal (164133) | more than 4 years ago | (#30782102)

Intel has a good point. If the a major point of the FTC's inquiry is that they have an integrated presence in the market, then is Intel being penalized partly for merely being successful, and making good business decisions? Pah. They are in a competitive business. AMD is suffering as much for their choice in manufacturing partners as anythuing right now. Design aside.

I believe that the major points in the FTC's inquiry involved Intel essentially holding their immediate customers over a barrel involving pricing of their chips. Specifically:
http://www.ag.ny.gov/media_center/2009/nov/nov4a_09.html [ny.gov]

By leveraging their market position, Intel provided "rebates" to customers who went with Intel exclusively. When a computer maker wanted to offer AMD-based systems, Intel would threaten to raise their per-chip cost to a point where the maker couldn't compete. There are plenty of other notes. Please feel free to review and comment.

Re:The general problem Intel has (1)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783064)

My point was that the FTC's complaints that Intel has an abusive position due to their assumed manufacturing advantage is not a good thing.

Mind you, Intel's holding customers over a barrel with a combination of exclusive marketing agreements and coop funds is probably a pretty good bet for the FTC. It seems to meet a common-sense definition of restraint.

Re:The general problem Intel has (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783870)

Starbucks gives me incentives to only buy my coffee from them, should they be shut down for that?

Re:The general problem Intel has (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30784220)

Starbucks gives me incentives to only buy my coffee from them, should they be shut down for that?

Do they go through you trash and retroactively bill you and extra $25 per cup if you buy one from Dunkin Donuts?

Re:The general problem Intel has (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30785322)

Does Starbucks charge you more for Starbucks coffee if you sometimes buy 7-Eleven coffee? And do you have some customers which insist that you provide Starbucks coffee? If Starbucks tried that, you can bet they'd be in trouble too.

The problem with smart-alecks who come up with these so-called analogies is that they don't bother to understand the actual situation.

Re:The general problem Intel has (1)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 4 years ago | (#30782164)

They can, and they should since there are plenty of legitimate problems they could have with intel in the anti-trust sense.

personally though it doesn't bother me too much since AMD is for the most part a legitimate competitor to intel while my ISP on the other hand has been a (quite abusive) monopoly in my area since always.

Re:The general problem Intel has (4, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#30782202)

I suspect that if this is the theory the FTC is presenting, Intel is correctly going to counter that this is neither sufficient grounds for additional restrictions, nor is it actually a hindrance in today's or even last year's market.

That is not the theory the FTC is presenting, and the issues that the FTC is investigating don't involve today's or even last year's market.

The theory involves intel's business practices over many years and their efforts to lock out or marginalize them by making agreements with OEMs that said they were required to do exactly that or be at a huge competitive disadvantage vs everyone else who was willing to play ball with Intel. Just as one example.

There are some competitors to Intel (AMD) that don't even OWN fabrication facilities. They have access to competitive foundries that can produce their product.

Yes AMD chose to spin off their fabs, because they literally had no other choice. Debt was piling up, and this made securing the incredible amount of funding necessary to build new fabs impossible.

But barring their own spun-off fabs, no they do not have access to "competitive foundries" that can produce their product. Intel was already ahead of AMD's fabs, and AMD's fab is ahead of all the foundries (not counting that AMD uses SOI and all the foundries use bulk), who have neither the capacity nor the time to dedicate to tweaking their processes specifically for AMD's needs so they have a chance of remaining competitive with Intel. AMD is just as dependent on "their own" fabs as ever.

That said, Intel having a fab and AMD selling theirs off (though it's still on AMD's books) is not the FTC's complaint as TFA explains. You rread a lot into the OP that wasn't really being said. They just said anti-trust made sense in chip sales because of the barriers to entry. The actual issue was and is anti-trust, not the barrier to entry itself.

Similarly, competitors such as Freescale etc.

Sorry but LOL.

The FTC is not chartered to address a competitor's poor choices, if indeed AMD made a poor choice in being fabless.

That's right, they are chartered to address anti-competitive business practices on the part of the monopolist, which is what they are doing.

Intel has a good point.

Intel is not making the point you think they're making.

Also, they will of course say they have a good point, but it's the exact same points they made to the Japanese and EU trade commissions and during AMD's lawsuit against them, and they didn't fly then. Our FTC seems to move even slower than the others, but part of the reason they're waiting so long and talking about issues from the past is because they have spent a long time investigating and gathering evidence to make their case.

Assuming they have some of the same evidence as the EU that I've seen, Intel doesn't have much of a chance. Though even without that, anyone paying attention through the 90s and early 00s knows what Intel was up to.

Re:The general problem Intel has (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30783126)

Yes, and a lot of that debt was piling up because of a bad choice to pay so much for ATI. That's not a mistake Intel should have to pay for.

Re:The general problem Intel has (2, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783160)

That's not a mistake Intel should have to pay for.

And they're not paying for anything having to do with AMD's actions, they're paying for their own business practices. Try to keep up please?

Re:The general problem Intel has (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30784006)

Try to keep up please?

Was that necessary or do you just enjoy being a dick?

Re:The general problem Intel has (0, Troll)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#30784148)

Yes it was necessary to clue Mr. AC in that they seem to have completely missed the point, and yes I enjoy being a dick to the deliberately ignorant.

Re:The general problem Intel has (1)

ppanon (16583) | more than 4 years ago | (#30782970)

Now, if the FTC thinks Intel has an unfair advantage because they own their fabs, well, AMD chose a different route. Emphasis on CHOSE.

I'm not convinced it was a choice but instead suspect they were coerced by market forces. AMD doesn't have the multi-billion dollar war chest that Intel has to be able to spend on new multi-billion$ fabs. So when AMD needed to build a new fab for the next process generation, they would have needed to borrow lots of money at a time when the banks weren't lending even if you offered your first-born. So they split off the fabs and found an outside investor for that and kept their IP family jewels. If this is correct then it actually reinforces the GP's point about high barriers to entry.

Re:The general problem Intel has (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30783416)

What about all the sweet heart deals that AMD got from the German federal and provincial governments? And what about the Arabs investing so much into them? It's not like AMD didn't have access to funding. Their debt was largely their own fault.

Re:The general problem Intel has (1, Flamebait)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783322)

>Interesting, and I had to put away my mod points and respond

Finally someone that gets the big picture, and thinks this whole intel debate is really another plow by FTC to generate its own revenue...seeing as imo intel has done nothnig wrong...and amd sucks the big one.

I wish I too had kept some mod points, but alas, I can only give you my imaginary ones....
consider yourself +5 underated.

Re:The general problem Intel has (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30783846)

Finally, someone that gets the "big" picture by not understanding any of the "little" picture, like what the hell the FTC is actually complaining about!

IMO Intel has done nothing wrong, because I have no idea what Intel is alleged to have done!

The FTC is just after revenue! My imagination of what the investigation is about tells me so!

Wait, WTF does RTFA mean?

Re:The general problem Intel has (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783844)

How much of the Fabs Intel doesn't sued are own wholly or proportional by Intel? Can Intel uses it's market to influence pricing at other Fabs?

Also, Intel could by up critical parts need for a fab in order to delay building a new one which would severely impact AMDs market window for a product.

I don't know the answer, but those are some very good reason the FTC would have a problem.

Re:The general problem Intel has (1)

sublimemm (1525817) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783854)

You make it seem like AMD has always been fabless. They just finished their spinoff of their foundries and did so because they couldn't afford to run them anymore. Which pretty much makes your point irrelevant. Also, investors and followers of AMD have held the move up as a great move for saving the company from bankruptcy (or more likely, acquisition from IBM). Futhermore, you failed to mention even one word of why the FTC brought the case about in the first place. Intel selling their chips at cost or below cost to push AMD out of the market. Which AMD has sued successfully over (Intel settled and agreed to pay $1 billion and agree not to sue about their splitting off their foundries). But yeah you're right, the FTC has no case and Intel is a perfect shining example of how to NOT violate antitrust laws.

Re:The general problem Intel has (1)

Chees0rz (1194661) | more than 4 years ago | (#30784318)

Which AMD has sued successfully over (Intel settled and agreed to pay $1 billion and agree not to sue about their splitting off their foundries).

AMD successfully got money out of Intel. That's all it means.

Does anyone have a link to actual evidence where Intel sold chips below cost? I've heard of emails where they threatened to up prices when a customer decided to not be exclusive... but I haven't seen any proof where they went through with it. I'll have to wait for the final verdict to form my opinions... you know... once the FTC actually investigates.

Right now I'll give Intel the benefit of the doubt. But I'll be disappointed if it comes to light that they DID follow through on their threats, and they did sell below cost.

Re:The general problem Intel has (2, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 4 years ago | (#30787882)

I think what is ultimately screwed Intel is the fact that they paid their OEMs to NOT use any AMD chips, and made it clear that any discounts would go bye bye if so much as a single AMD chip went out the door. I wish I could find the link, but as another poster says Intel puff pieces dominate Google right now.

But you can find proof of it probably in your very own home. Remember back five years ago, when Intel was running Netburst, which was a pig for power, ran like a space heater, and was slower than just about every AMD chip made? While AMD wasn't the truly insane "bang for the buck" it is now, their chips were still quite affordable and the benchmarks kicked every single offering Intel had, yet AMD didn't gain ground. Why? With OEMs having bullet points to stick on the box is a BIG plus, and having the benchmark leaders helps to sell boxes. Not to mention the lower power requirements means less powerful PSUs, and fans, and all that adds to the bottom line. Yet they STILL didn't gain. Why?

Because Intel paid off the OEMs [widowpc.com] that's why. I would point out this quote from an the article as an example, "Its executives agreed that Intel's financial inducements amounted to "cocaine," but said they were hooked because re-engaging with AMD would jeopardize Intel market development funds estimated to be worth $25 (million)-$30 million per quarter."

And THAT is what is gonna come back to bite them in the ass, just as it did MSFT. Giving discount to volume customers is one thing, tying those discounts to cutting your competitors completely out of the market is another. I'm sorry but they need to be busted. Being tough in the market is one thing, paying off your partners in backroom deals to screw the other guy is antitrust bait. Hopefully Intel will be stopped from pulling this crap in the future, and since AMD used a good portion of their 1.25 Billion dollar settlement from Intel (which if there wasn't any skeletons about to fall out the closet I doubt Intel would have shelled out the cash) to pay off their ATI debts I can only hope AMD comes out better so there is real competition. Because I don't know about you, but I have no desire to go back to Intel being the only game in town. I like being able to build a nice quad for less than $750, thanks ever so much.

Re:The general problem Intel has (2, Insightful)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#30781880)

CPU manufacturing is what is known as a "natural monopoly"; I really don't think the global market can support more than 3 companies doing this. That still doesn't justify Intel's use of "co-marketing" money, wherein Intel pays all of PC vendor's advertising costs, but only if they don't use competitor's chips. Intel is willing to do practically anything for a "design win", but that is just good ol' fashioned competition. Unfortunately, it is difficult to separate the effects of Intel's anti-competitive behavior from the effects of Intel's competitors simply having far fewer resources with which to compete. I, for one, would be happy if computer customers were free to choose whatever CPU they want without interference from Intel. (Just like they should be able to choose whatever OS they want without interference from Microsoft.) Intel has shown that except for major screw-ups like Whitehall, they can compete quite well based just on innovation and actual merit. But consumers are best served by having a choice, which keeps Intel honest.

Re:The general problem Intel has (1)

Penguinoflight (517245) | more than 4 years ago | (#30782650)

Just because Intel has risen from the p4 era with competitive chips doesn't mean that it was on their own efforts or merit. They did so by licensing technologies developed by AMD and holding the necessary set of legacy patents over AMD's head as payment for these techs. If anything Intel's recent success stems for their quality first-party fabs that can produce high internal clock speeds. The sad fact is that even with governments intervening Intel has already gained their advantage by having the funds necessary to produce top-notch fabrication facilities; at the same time Intel abused this advantage to put AMD in a situation forcing them to sell off their own fabs. Had we seen a more evenly divided Athlon XP vs P4 era AMD would have had considerably better backing to develop facilities making their products more competitive today. One could argue that the consumer would have been better off as well, with Intel dropping the pentium4 earlier due to fair market pressure.

just between you and me, (1)

reiisi (1211052) | more than 4 years ago | (#30789484)

Had we seen fair market pressure, I'm tending to think that the 8086 would have died the death a long time ago.

In fact, I'm tending to agree with the idea that intel's need to sell processors is the only remaining reason for the continued existence of the desktop PC.

Re:The general problem Intel has (2, Informative)

StayFrosty (1521445) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783204)

CPU manufacturing is what is known as a "natural monopoly."

No, it's not. According to Wikipedia: "In economics, a natural monopoly occurs when, due to the economies of scale of a particular industry, the maximum efficiency of production and distribution is realized through a single supplier, but in some cases inefficiency may take place.

Natural monopolies arise where the largest supplier in an industry, often the first supplier in a market, has an overwhelming cost advantage over other actual or potential competitors. This tends to be the case in industries where capital costs predominate, creating economies of scale which are large in relation to the size of the market, and hence high barriers to entry; examples include public utilities such as water services and electricity. It is very expensive to build transmission networks (water/gas pipelines, electricity and telephone lines), therefore it is unlikely that a potential competitor would be willing to make the capital investment needed to even enter the monopolist's market."

While fabs may be expensive, I really don't think that is what is keeping other companies from entering the market. In fact, a fab has to be retooled every few years to manufacture chips with a new/smaller process. What's keeping other companies out of the desktop CPU market is licensing. Nvidia has been rumoured to be trying to enter the x86 cpu market for the last couple of years but has been unable due to licensing restrictions of the x86 architecture.

AMD no longer owns their own fabs but they are still a "CPU Manufacturer." They design the chips which are made by someone else's Fab.

I really don't think the global market can support more than 3 companies doing this.

Off the top of my head: Intel, AMD, Freescale, IBM, TI, Motorola, NVIDIA, Qualcomm, ARM (Who designs a lot of chips made by TI, Freescale and Qualcomm,) and Sun.

Re:The general problem Intel has (2, Interesting)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783580)

ARM is a CPU designer, not a CPU manufacturer. I probably should have restricted my statement to x86 compatible [wikipedia.org] or PC CPUs; there is room for more than three embedded CPU manufacturers. If we're talking about companies that actually have the fabs to compete with Intel, we're talking AMD, IBM, and TSMC. Possibly also UMC, Fujitsu, and National Semiconductor. So you are correct, about 7 companies, not 3. With multi-billion dollar barriers to entry, the high-end semiconductor industry does look a lot like a natural monopoly, even though, as you point out, it technically is not.

Re:The general problem Intel has (1)

Korin43 (881732) | more than 4 years ago | (#30785202)

Natural monopoly? Without the government stopping other companies from making compatible processors, there would be a lot of competition. If you look at other places where processors are used, you notice that no one has any problem competing. The only reason Intel/AMD have their oligopoly (duopoly?) is because no one else is legally able to compete with them.

Government is best at deciding about the economy (2, Insightful)

antirelic (1030688) | more than 4 years ago | (#30781586)

From the article "In 26 statements of "contemplated relief" contained in its complaint, the FTC described what Intel's must do and not do to preserve competition."

Right, because when I think of people who know how to run a business (ya know, an entity with 10 trillion dollars in debt), I think of the Federal government. Who are these people who think they know how to maintain competition? Obviously not people who can make it in the private sector so they go work for the FTC and act like little emporers, "sticking it" to the businesses that they could never succeed against, or within.

Give IBM 700 billion dollars and I guarantee that the unemployment would be well below 10% (or 17% real unemployement). Give 700B to the fed and what happens???

Re:Government is best at deciding about the econom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30781656)

Give IBM 700 billion dollars and I guarantee that the unemployment would be well below 10% (or 17% real unemployement). Give 700B to the fed and what happens???

Give IBM 700 billion dollars and I guarantee IBM execs will get the most gigantic bonuses ever.

Re:Government is best at deciding about the econom (1)

Darth Sdlavrot (1614139) | more than 4 years ago | (#30781678)

I think you have confused IBM with BoA and J.P. Morgan Chase.

Re:Government is best at deciding about the econom (1)

i_ate_god (899684) | more than 4 years ago | (#30781752)

a big corporation is a big corporation. The name is just a unique identifier.

Re:Government is best at deciding about the econom (1)

javelinco (652113) | more than 4 years ago | (#30782134)

How that myopic, one color fits all vision working for ya?

Re:Government is best at deciding about the econom (1)

WinPimp2K (301497) | more than 4 years ago | (#30781858)

IBM would certainly find productive uses for that amount of capital, but part of it would be paying for the mandatory retirement of their US R&D people who did not want to move to India.

Re:Government is best at deciding about the econom (5, Informative)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 4 years ago | (#30781698)

Actually, anti-trust issues are exactly the sort of thing that needs to be handled by the government because no one else is in a position to do so. There are many good reasons for anti-trust issues: 1) large controling companies in industries can hurt customers, stifle competition and stifle innovation. 2) They make industries and the economy as a whole more vulnerable to sudden fluctuations (look what happened in the banking industry. That was in part because the largest banks were too large. Unfortunately, we haven't really dealt with that part of the problem...). The FTC doesn't need to know how to run a business. They just need to know how to identify anti-competitive practices.

Re:Government is best at deciding about the econom (1, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 4 years ago | (#30782190)

There is a huge difference between anti-trust action, and State take-over of a company. We've already seen this happen to the Banking and Auto industry. Both have been epic failures on all fronts! Do we as a nation want the Federal Gov taking over the direction of how Intel conducts business and even production?

If any of you said "Yes" to my last question, then you are a Facist/Statist and should be drug out on the street and shot IMHO!!! This cannot be allowed to stand.

Re:Government is best at deciding about the econom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30782798)

Right. Because someone having a different view on how business and government mesh and interact means they deserve to be shot for having that opinion..sort of like the opinion you expressed against it?

Hows that freedom working out there?

Re:Government is best at deciding about the econom (1)

woody.jesus (1665793) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783318)

Freedom is a big part of this issue. There are many uses of the word 'free' and 'Free' markets are not necessarily congruent with a free society. Businesses in free markets don't care about personal liberties. They care about making money. In the absence of any regulation they will do it any way they can. Not because there are not honest moral people in the business world. But because unregulated capitalism is an inevitable race to the bottom. Yes slavery is wrong, child labor is wrong and sweatshops are wrong. But if my competitor is doing it, and he's producing the product much cheaper than I, then I will have to find a way to reduce MY labor costs to zero or go out of business. In the US, we have workplace safety laws, environmental dumping laws and child labor laws, all brought on by the historical excesses of the free market. Anti-trust also has a firm grounding in history. Because of the breakup of Standard Oil we have much more freedom of personal transportation that we would have. Because of the breakup of AT&T I no longer have to call the phone company if I want to move my phone to a different room in the house. Because of anti-trust litigation against IBM we have cheap personal computers and, ironically, Microsoft.

Re:Government is best at deciding about the econom (2, Insightful)

locallyunscene (1000523) | more than 4 years ago | (#30782814)

The Federal Gov't. didn't force a takeover. They said "here's some money, it's comes with strings attached". The banks hoped those strings wouldn't be enforced, but that hasn't been the case(thankfully). A lot of banks have opted to pay the money back. I sincerely doubt this would have been the case if they had just been given a blank check.

The automakers are just F***** and have been for a long time. Their bailout was to soften the blow of all of them going down in close proximity, and at a time when there was no faith in the economy. Maybe it wasn't needed, maybe it prevented a lot of suffering. I'll wait until we're on the other side of this recession to see what the effects were.

Also I love how you say "There is a huge difference between anti-trust action, and State take-over of a company" in your first sentence and then equate the two in your last.

Re:Government is best at deciding about the econom (1)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 4 years ago | (#30784976)

They said "here's some money, it's comes with strings attached"

Actually it was more like "They said "here's some money, it does not comes with strings attached please save us from impending doom!11!!"

Way to ruin your point. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30782838)

Step 1) Make a point
Step 2) Threaten to kill someone for having an opposing view
Step 3) Make yourself and your arguments and your allies look like nut-jobs
Step 4) Ignore Step by Step outline of your problem and continue being a jerk and winning points for your opponents.

you are a Facist/Statist and should be drug out on the street and shot IMHO!!!

Sadly, the emphasis is not my own :/

Re:Government is best at deciding about the econom (1, Insightful)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783266)

No one said the government was taking over Intel and don't you have a town hall meeting to attend to proclaim Obama an illegal immigrant or something?

Re:Government is best at deciding about the econom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30782938)

Standard Oil.

Re:Government is best at deciding about the econom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30781716)

Hey, what about putting Wall Street bankers in charge of running the business? They've shown that they can manage money. OH WAIT. No they haven't. They needed to be bailed out by the very same federal government that you hate.

Well, what about putting the leaders of other large manufacturing concerns like GM and Chryslers in charge? They've shown that they can manage money. OH WAIT. No they haven't. They also needed to be bailed out by the very same federal government that you hate.

Fuck.

Re:Government is best at deciding about the econom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30783832)

That's the problem: incompetent companies should NOT be bailed out.

Re:Government is best at deciding about the econom (1)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786824)

That doesn't hurt the incompetent company. That only hurts the incompetent company's counter-parties.

Re:Government is best at deciding about the econom (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 4 years ago | (#30781754)

Give IBM 700 billion dollars and I guarantee that the unemployment would be well below 10% (or 17% real unemployement).

In India, maybe.

Re:Government is best at deciding about the econom (1)

royallthefourth (1564389) | more than 4 years ago | (#30781784)

Bureaucrats at the FTC don't write the federal budget; that gets decided by congress which is largely owned by business interests.

The US government isn't just some monolith with no capacity for competence; it's pretty much legislators and the military portion of the executive that cause all of the country's problems.

Re:Government is best at deciding about the econom (1)

antirelic (1030688) | more than 4 years ago | (#30785754)

Because your someone who has absolutely no understanding of civil society. You believe in the myth that government is meant to take care of the people. You think, for some reason, that the "military" is a cause of all the problems, when it is simply an appendage of the civilian government (at least in western democracies). Of all the things the government does, the military is actually something that it is constitutionally designed to do. But I'm sure you dont care about the constitution.

Re:Government is best at deciding about the econom (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#30781852)

From the article "In 26 statements of "contemplated relief" contained in its complaint, the FTC described what Intel's must do and not do to preserve competition."

Right, because when I think of people who know how to run a business (ya know, an entity with 10 trillion dollars in debt), I think of the Federal government.

"Preserving competition", which is what the FTC is saying what must be done to do, and "running a business" are distinctly different, and often opposed, goals. Someone running a business wants to eliminate their competition, not preserve it.

Give IBM 700 billion dollars and I guarantee that the unemployment would be well below 10% (or 17% real unemployement).

Your personal guarantee might be worth something for that proposition if you had the capacity and a legally binding obligation to repay the $700 billion if IBM failed to deliver. But even then, it would be an inducement to try the experiment by mitigating the cost if you were wrong, not a basis for believeing the claim that you make. If you want people to believe that claim, an actual argument with reasoning and/or evidence (preferably, both) would be better than a your personal "guarantee".

Re:Government is best at deciding about the econom (3, Insightful)

Snarkalicious (1589343) | more than 4 years ago | (#30782118)

Preservation of competition is about maintaing the health of the consumer market. The FTC isn't saying that Intel doesn't know how to make money, but that their practices are threatening to the maintenance of a robust competitive market. Capitalism without a framework of rules and standards that is about as sustainable over the long-term as the communist shadows your sig line is barking at. Take it from a left wing progressive: The policies put forth by Obama are centrist. The center has just been far enough to port long enough that most folks don't recognize it anymore. Oh, and when we gave the Fed those billions, what they did was to prevent a total sieze-up of credit markets, without which large scale economic movement is essentially impossible. What they did there was to save capitalism from the ravages of an underregulated market.

Re:Government is best at deciding about the econom (1)

antirelic (1030688) | more than 4 years ago | (#30785924)

I dont quite understand what you mean, "capitalism without a framework". What framework does capitalism have? I understand the role of government, but by and large it has been disastrous. Capitalism doesnt have a framework. In fact, a free society and a capitalism is the antithesis of a "framework". The government is what is suppose to have a "framework", which you progressives tend to want to ignore as best you can.

By calling Obama centrist, you are either being deceptive and obtuse, or you are ignorant of the progressive agenda of the people in power. If its the later (which I doubt), I recommend reading Sal Alinsky and cloward-piven strategy. Only the non strategic thinking progressive would see the shelling out of billions of dollars to failing businesses as "centrist". The "right minded" progressive understands that this is a tactic to bring the system down.

The truth is coming out about the economic collapse. Congratulations about the "failings of capitalism". Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, two government entities, lead the charge straight off the cliff (through the Community Reinvestment Act). It was government regulation that caused our recent problems, created the housing bubble, and you want to lead everyone to believe that more regulation is the way to do it? Seriously?

I'd take underregulated markets any day over government intervention.

Re:Government is best at deciding about the econom (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783200)

Because Intel only has the consumer's interest in their heart and will never do anything wrong.

Before you say the consumer should decide just remember it was the consumer who decided who is in the government.

I don't quite get it... (3, Interesting)

i_ate_god (899684) | more than 4 years ago | (#30781738)

I could have sworn that at one time, the Athlon was king of the world, then the Core 2 Duo's came out and Intel was king of the world since because AMD hasn't made a superior CPU.

Is Intel supposed to purposefully degrade the quality of their product? What is it that they did that has the FTC crying foul?

Re:I don't quite get it... (5, Informative)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 4 years ago | (#30781824)

..because even when AMD was price AND performance king of the x86 CPU, Intel still sold more due to market manipulation.

Re:I don't quite get it... (1)

Twillerror (536681) | more than 4 years ago | (#30782776)

And that had nothing to do with production capacity?

Re:I don't quite get it... (2, Interesting)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783060)

AMD could not manage to sell their processors for more money, because Intel basically used their cash reserves and market power to undermine AMD. Intel basically threatened manufacturers that would buy AMD that they would suddenly start paying much more expensive prices, than Intel exclusive manufacturers. This caused AMD to lose a lot of customers. It was claimed AMD got its first major OEM win (Compaq) by essentially giving its processors away for free. If AMD had sold its processors for more, they could have had the money to build new fabs, or have more design teams. You have to remember AMD has like one CPU design team, and one shrink team, while Intel has at least 2 designs teams, and separate shrink teams. So Intel can afford to fail more when designing CPUs while AMD has to get everything right.

Re:I don't quite get it... (1)

Chees0rz (1194661) | more than 4 years ago | (#30784462)

AMD could not manage to sell their processors for more money, because Intel basically used their cash reserves and market power to undermine AMD. Intel basically threatened manufacturers that would buy AMD that they would suddenly start paying much more expensive prices, than Intel exclusive manufacturers.

I may have heard this from a bias source, but I heard it explained like this (I'll paraphrase)
== Rebates are always offered for volume in this industry. If a company like Dell is going to order 2M units total, then 2M from Intel should cost less per unit than buying 1M units from Intel (and 1M from AMD).==

Now, if Intel charged different amounts per chip for Dell buying only 2M from Intel vs 2M from Intel and 1M from AMD - then I see that as anticompetative. But nobody has yet to make that distinction (that I've read).

It was claimed AMD got its first major OEM win (Compaq) by essentially giving its processors away for free. If AMD had sold its processors for more, they could have had the money to build new fabs, or have more design teams.

What?!?! AMD SOLD BELOW COST?! GET THEM!!!!

Re:I don't quite get it... (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 4 years ago | (#30785276)

Ok, I'll make that distinction for you:

== Rebates are always offered for volume in this industry. If a company like Dell is going to order 1M units total, then 1M from Intel should cost less per unit than buying 1/2M units from Intel (and 1/2M from AMD).==

The 1M in that quote was a variable. They just used 1M so that is sounded less like an equation. Changing the numbers to 2M and 1M does not change the original quote at all.

Re:I don't quite get it... (1)

Chees0rz (1194661) | more than 4 years ago | (#30785506)

Yes, the equation stays the same, I agree... but that still doesn't say Intel charges less per unit for an exclusive X units than a non-exclusive X units...

That is the distinction I need to be convinced they did anything wrong in their pricing.

Perhaps this can be seen in the advertising deals.. not sure.

Re:I don't quite get it... (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30785886)

That was not what I heard. I heard Intel wanted exclusivity, it was not directly related to number of units sold. It was related to the percentage of units sold with Intel processors. AMD sued Intel in Japan [amd.com] . Intel was IIRC fined in Korea and the EU [europa.eu] for monopoly practices. Citing the last link:
  • Intel gave rebates to computer manufacturer A from December 2002 to December 2005 conditional on this manufacturer purchasing exclusively Intel CPUs
  • Intel gave rebates to computer manufacturer B from November 2002 to May 2005 conditional on this manufacturer purchasing no less than 95% of its CPU needs for its business desktop computers from Intel (the remaining 5% that computer manufacturer B could purchase from rival chip maker AMD was then subject to further restrictive conditions set out below)
  • Intel gave rebates to computer manufacturer C from October 2002 to November 2005 conditional on this manufacturer purchasing no less than 80% of its CPU needs for its desktop and notebook computers from Intel
  • Intel gave rebates to computer manufacturer D in 2007 conditional on this manufacturer purchasing its CPU needs for its notebook computers exclusively from Intel.

...
For example, rival chip manufacturer AMD offered one million free CPUs to one particular computer manufacturer. If the computer manufacturer had accepted all of these, it would have lost Intel's rebate on its many millions of remaining CPU purchases, and would have been worse off overall simply for having accepted this highly competitive offer. In the end, the computer manufacturer took only 160,000 CPUs for free.

Re:I don't quite get it... (2, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#30782992)

Or maybe Intel just has a really awesome marketing department. Seriously, have you ever heard of 'AMD Inside?' I heard stories of executives in the 90s who would say things like, "I don't know what that Intel stuff is, but I want some of it in my computer." I'm not sure if what Intel did market manipulative things or not, but they definitely rocked AMD on the marketing front.

Re:I don't quite get it... (1)

farble1670 (803356) | more than 4 years ago | (#30784146)

it would be really, very surprisingly if AMD could have won out in the long run against intel. that's what makes intel's actions all the more perplexing.

the problem is that no one has a crystal ball that is going to tell us how much intel's market manipulation contributed to their success. if they manipulated the market, they have to pay for it regardless of how much of an effect it had. i hope for them it had a big effect considering the deep poopoo they are in because of it.

Re:I don't quite get it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30785212)

..because even when AMD was price AND performance king of the x86 CPU, Intel still sold more due to market manipulation.

how would you distinguish between manipulation by intel and bad marketing by AMD? AMD after repeated failures came out with a superior product. As a consumer (let's say not very tech savvy), how do you expect someone to say "ah, AMD has best benchmarks, I will buy it". Most consumers will end up trusting a brand they have seen for many years. As it seems nowadays more people do recognize AMD brand so I am sure when they come up with a better product more people will buy it than before.

Re:I don't quite get it... (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30781836)

I can't quite remember the details, but I think basically what they did was throttle their hardware if its running in synch with their competitors products, for no apparent reason besides making their products look better.

Can someone back me up on that? Or did I make that up in a dream one night...

Re:I don't quite get it... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30782472)

You're all alone on this.

Re:I don't quite get it... (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783332)

The only one i remember is the Intel Compiler optimizations only working on Intel CPU's..

Such as doing some math tasks via MMX - even though AMD's had MMX the compiler wouldn't put in the optimizations unless the CPU was identified as Intel.

People got pissed because Intel's compiler was the defacto default for a alot of people - but if you think about it - why should they be responsiable for optimizing a compiler for a competitors CPU? and dealing with all the bug checkking that has to go into it.

Say they had allowed it to do the optimization and AMD's cpu had an erata that caused it to fail and crash the program because of the optimization - people would be pointing the finger at Intel's compiler..

honestly i would have done what they did - and say screw it - if they want optimizations they can release their own compiler.

http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/1567108/intel-compiler-cripples-code-amd-via-chips [theinquirer.net]

then you have to look at stuff like this

http://blogs.zdnet.com/Ou/?p=518 [zdnet.com]

the marketing racket they had with dell - yea that was wrong - but leave their compiler out of it - AMD should release their own if they want optimizations.

Re:I don't quite get it... (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 4 years ago | (#30781912)

I think part of the problem is Intels business practices. Namely: While Athlon was "king of the world" Intel cut out AMDs share, not due to better product or prices, but tue to unfair business practices.

That being said, this case would have been much more appropriate then.

Re:I don't quite get it... (5, Informative)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#30781924)

Actually it's Intel's business practices during the time (and before) Athlon was "king of the world" that are at issue. They fed companies "cooperative marketing" funds (read cash handouts and sweetheart pricing deals) via the "Intel Inside" program that were not based on how much Intel product they moved, but rather on them not selling AMD parts. There were companies that wanted to sell more AMD, but couldn't because with the amount of money Intel was giving them, it simply didn't make sense. They would have been crushed by competitors who were willing to play ball with Intel.

Thus was Athlon's marketshare artificially limited, which can be seen as a cause of AMD later falling behind. There was a brief period in the K8 days where AMD was fab capacity limited, but this too is because AMD had not secured enough revenue from Athlon to build as aggressively as they would have otherwise.

As usual, legal entities like the FTC move slowly, and the issues they actually act upon are thus well in the past. Not that Intel stopped engaging in these practices until (possibly) very recently, when other trade organizations around the globe started hammering them and AMD's lawsuit against them was settled in AMD's favor. It's just understandably harder to see the business practice issues when Intel's products are also superior.

Re:I don't quite get it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30782028)

My understanding is that Intel leaned heavily on other vendors to not sell competitor products. Basically they went to people like Asus and said: "Do you want to continue to sell motherboards which support Intel chips? Then you must not sell any AMD compatible motherboards". That kind of thing. Since telling Intel to go play in traffic would be suicide for motherboard manufacturers (selling only AMD, etc was not financially viable), most of them mostly caved. I hear for a time, some AMD compatible motherboards were sold in unmarked boxes with no manufacturer listed anywhere as a result.
These kinds of agreements is why the anti-trust suit happened.

Re:I don't quite get it... (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 4 years ago | (#30782172)

This case takes place looong before the Core 2 Duos. You are dead-on about one thing: For a while, Athlon was the king - technologically. Yet they never could get a major vendor to ship their chips. This is because Intel used anti-competitive practices to lock-out AMD. The vendor contracts with Intel limited the percentage of machines they could ship with AMD chips.

The FTC is not telling Intel to degrade their products. They are telling them not to make monopolistic contracts.

Re:I don't quite get it... (1)

cheezedawg (413482) | more than 4 years ago | (#30788108)

AMD was very open that they were capacity constrained during the time in question- they were selling everything that they could manage to manufacture. They made a few feeble attempts to increase their capacity, like the whole UMC debacle. But in the end, the limits on AMD's success were all self-imposed by crappy management. At its heart, the semiconductor industry is about manufacturing, and whoever can make the most chips with the highest yields will win. AMD still doesn't understand that.

Re:I don't quite get it... (1)

mpfife (655916) | more than 4 years ago | (#30782324)

Yeah, I don't understand this lawsuit at all.

According to Slashdot - AMD has been the leader for year and YEARS now.

Re:I don't quite get it... (1)

mandark1967 (630856) | more than 4 years ago | (#30782400)

You are correct, to a point. At one point AMD was the performance king. However, even at that time when they clearly had the better processors, Intel was paying many different companies millions of dollars in the form of "exclusivity discounts" to not carry a competitors product. What if GMC paid all car dealers in the entire country to carry only Saturns. Would you go to another country just to buy a different make of car or just settle?

Dell, HP, Gateway, and Compaq all received what amounts to bribes (in my humble opinion) of millions of dollars to not carry their competitor's product.

If those bribes (my opinion) were not paid, Intel-based computer systems would have been

A - Still slower than their AMD Counterparts
B - More expensive.

Do you know of many people who, when they go computer shopping, specifically look to buy the slowest, most expensive computer?

AMD would have sold a metric ASSLOAD more computers, raking in way more capital, gaining market share, and not to be forgotten, some well-earned respect as a leader and innovator in the industry.

Intel stooped to what amounts to bribery. (in my opinion) I believe this is the crux of the charges the FTC has leveled.

Re:I don't quite get it... (4, Interesting)

archer, the (887288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30782402)

Also, there were rumors that if a motherboard manufacturer was thinking of making new AMD boards, Intel allegedly would hint that the manufacturer might face a shortage of Intel chipsets.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/early-athlon-motherboard-review,123-2.html?xtmc=athlon_boards_chipset_shortage_taipei&xtcr=2 [tomshardware.com]

Re:I don't quite get it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30782456)

Athlon was never king of shit. They were unreliable and hot chips, allbeit cheap ones. They have some kind of romantic relationship with PC gamers from that era who built PCs to brag and whine on forums, nothing more.

The Operton was king of computation until Intel's cross licensing gave them Quick Path and removed the FSB. Nehalem is definitely king now.

Re:I don't quite get it... (2, Insightful)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783326)

Sure Athlon was hot. But so were the Intel alternatives. Intel could not even get a working 1 GHz Pentium III in 0.18um in any decent quantity. Pentium 4 same thing.

AMD got a bad rap at a time because their processors did not have an integrated temperature measurement diode like the PIII did. This meant if a processor was inadequately cooled you could get a burn out processor. They fixed that in Palomino (Athlon XP). Still, compared to the hardware bugs in the i820 chipset, or the paper launch of the 1GHz PIII, it was no biggie.

Re:I don't quite get it... (2, Insightful)

farble1670 (803356) | more than 4 years ago | (#30784060)

something like this:

  • intel: going to ship AMD-based systems are you?
  • PC manufacturer: yes.
  • intel: oh really. by the way, the price of that lot of intel CPUs you plan to purchase just doubled.
  • PC manufacturer: ...

the PC manufacturer had to ship intel-based systems because there was some significant portion of consumers that recognize the intel brand name ... despite the fact that intel-based CPUs were inferior to AMD at the time. that's called anti-competitive practices ... for the obvious reason that AMD wasn't being allowed to compete based on price / technical / marketing merits.

would intel have technical superiority over AMD right now if the playing field was level during the 90's-00's? good question.

Intel also put a lot of BS says that AMD is bad / (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#30784764)

Intel also put out a lot of BS says that AMD is bad / does not work right and they also push there own mother boards that some cost more and have less stuff on them then others with the same chipset.

also they are now trying to lock out 3rd prat chipsets and on board video chips and replicating them with there own shit video build in to the cpu.

Intel was part of a cartel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30781876)

Intel got big and powerful by being Microsoft's asshole buddy. And up until now, Intel let Microsoft take all the anti-trust heat. Well, now it's Intel's turn.

wow. get a load of that arrogance. (0, Flamebait)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#30781962)

its surprising to see how arrogant the intel people in america are, despite the fact that their company has been fined already in other countries like korea for wrongdoing and antitrust. and big time too.

one would think that they would at least have a little bit shame and dignity when facing public this time in an antitrust case. but, they behave totally to the opposite.

it seems you americans tolerate corporate greed and arrogance way too much. now they are devoid of shame too at last. even not faking it.

Re:wow. get a load of that arrogance. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30782702)

'it seems you americans tolerate corporate greed and arrogance way too much'

Of course we do this is why we are #1 and everybody else is trying to be #2.

Intel is the shizznit and they can do no wrong!

Re:wow. get a load of that arrogance. (1)

mindbrane (1548037) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783936)

Overall this thread is a good read, and it's obvious from the posts the understanding of the principles and circumstances is well informed. I've some economics schooling from undergrad studies and thus a fairly clear understanding of the rebuttal inherent in intel's claim that the FTC wants to turn them into a public utility, but I think those points have been well covered. Instead I'd like to point out that the western capitalist markets have swung deeply into litigious territory and lawsuits are now an everyday tool. There's a 'damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead' attitude that pushes corporations to pursue maximum profits from every possible means. My undergrad level economics courses spoke of the concept of moral suasion [investorwords.com] . Moral suasion, in Canada, was a means the Bank of Canada had as a means of swaying the banking community to follow Bank of Canada money policies. By perhaps bad analogy, the point I'm trying to make is that the community ethics and principles that are implicit in a concept like moral suasion are now anachronistic. With globalization and gargantuan consumer markets has come business practices that more reflect the difficulties in trying to impart a sense of community or national standards on international corporations that compete across many national boundaries and necessarily develop business strategies and tactics wherein governments are just other pieces on the board. Tied into the new world business strategies and exacerbating the situation is that publicly held corporations are intended to reward their investors with maximal profits. Thus, to a large extent intel's current circumstance just reflects the practices of a world market player. For me the sea change that introduced the new market was kicked off with Big Blue's late 1960 monopoly case [wikipedia.org] because IBM demonstrated that mega corporations have the resources to win legal wars of attrition even against big league governments. The more so because every government was as eager to woo large corporations to invest in their countries as they were to sue them.

Antitrust is simple (1)

keithpreston (865880) | more than 4 years ago | (#30783694)

We just need to make a law from the following principal:

Giving a discount based on the quantity a customer buys - Good Legal Business Idea

Giving less of a discount based on the quantity of competitors products a customer buys - Antitrust problem.

What would happen... (1)

JackPepper (1603563) | more than 4 years ago | (#30784092)

if AMD went out of business and Intel cornered the market? How does that affect me as a consumer?
Somebody please explain that.

Re:What would happen... (1)

ITJC68 (1370229) | more than 4 years ago | (#30784666)

Computers (PCs) would cost roughly 3 times as much as they do today. CPU costs would be off the chart. When there is no competition prices soar. Also we would probably just be getting dual core cpus with maybe 2.3 ghz instead of the quad core 3 ghz models. Not to mention that apple would probably have far more market share because their pricing would have been way more competitive. Whether buying a ready made PC or building your own Money vs performance is always in the mix.

Illegal not competitive (1)

chowdahhead (1618447) | more than 4 years ago | (#30784914)

One of the problems is that Intel was proven to pay OEM's (Dell specifically) a large sum of money to delay the launch of Opteron based products. It's a long read but to get a better handle on this, I suggest reading New York's antitrust suit: http://www.scribd.com/doc/22112342/Nyag-v-Intel-Complaint-Final [scribd.com]

What they did to Transmeta and IBM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30786318)

When I was at Transmeta, we were killing ourselves to get the Crusoe into an IBM Thinkpad. It was going really well, and the apparent design win was awesome news, because when you get a "design win" (your chip used in a product) with IBM, it's a big rubber stamp on your forehead that says "SAFE VENDOR," and a lot more business tends to flow your way.

This is secondhand, but we were told that what killed the deal is that Intel found out about the impending design win, then called up IBM and threatened to deprioritize shipments of their zillions of Intel chips to IBM if they didn't give Crusoe the boot. This would have hurt a huge portion of IBM's business.

I was just an engineer, so I don't know if this was for real or just an exec blowing sunshine up our asses, but I believe it. I had heard years earlier directly from the horse's mouth that AMD was spending $40M/year just to defend itself from Intel lawsuits, many of them clearly designed to just overburden the company with a mountain of legal work.

I think Intel is a really impressive company that does incredible engineering work, but I feel they have crossed ethical lines several times. Frankly, we make Microsoft out to be the bad guy, but I think they're just as inept at being bad guys as they are at software development, so it's easier to catch them in the act. I think Intel has been the real creep, but they're just better at it, so we don't notice.

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