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Intel Settles NY Antitrust Case

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the show-us-the-money dept.

Intel 46

clustermonkey writes "Intel Corporation and the New York Attorney General have agreed to terminate the lawsuit alleging violation of U.S. and state antitrust laws that was filed by the New York Attorney General in November 2009. Intel did not have to admit any violation of law (if there ever was any) nor did it have to admit or deny that the allegations in the complaint are true. Most importantly, the settlement does not require any changes to how the company does business. The settlement includes a $6.5 million payment that is "intended only to cover some of the costs incurred by the New York Attorney General in the litigation." Here's the full settlement, and Intel's official press release."

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Legal Extortion? (4, Insightful)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 2 years ago | (#38990792)

I don't understand. From the Summary it looks a lot like Legal extortion in that Intel paid to have this go away.

New York Capitulated !! (2)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#38990883)

It's pretty much a one-sided decision - Intel has bought out the Democrats of New York and they capitulated !!

6.5 million dollars ? What's that, again?

Re:New York Capitulated !! (5, Insightful)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 2 years ago | (#38991053)

6.5 million dollars ? What's that, again?

Pocket change for Intel.

With the prosecutors having a case that's pretty much botched anyway, it's a way of saying "no hard feelings, but do fuck off". The AG folks who worked on this can spin the payment to look like they didn't completely screw up, and Intel doesn't admit to any wrongdoing.

It's as close to a win-win situation as any lawsuit will reach.

Re:Legal Extortion? (4, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 2 years ago | (#38991067)

That's the problem with these "regulations" these days. Who benefited?

First, the corporations get fined a lot less than they cost other people... which isn't the way that's supposed to work. They're supposed to be fined enough to prevent them from doing it again. In general, that means MORE than whatever they cost other people.
Second... they don't have to admit any wrongdoing. What's the point then?
Third, who gets the money? The people Intel harmed? Hell, no! The government gets the money.
It's all a crock of sh*t. This needs to change. I mean it really, really needs to change.

Re:Legal Extortion? (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 2 years ago | (#38991409)

And again, the government isn't here to help you. Figure that out and this all makes a lot more sense. The laws written to govern these industries, were written by the industries themselves. The government officials involve either worked for the very businesses they are now prosecuting prior to their government jobs, or will soon after retirement. You can't stop that, it's always going to happen. Government is always bad, but sadly necessary. The only real hope for freedom and justice is a weak, timid government that has little control over its people. We often look down upon a lot of the terribly mismanaged governments of Africa, but you're not likely to find a more free individual than someone living in central Africa far from the constraints of their inept government that's almost completely unable to interfere in his life. If a local business screws over enough people, the business owner could likely have his building burnt to the ground. Often the laws we have, written by those they are intended to punish, are really just shields for the guilty. "Look, we paid, we've been punished, we're now rid of any other consequences." Look at BP and the litigation cap our government put on their damages. They sat there, and signed that, right in front of all of us to see. People wailed, and complained, but they'll go right back out and vote for the same individuals that they did last time. As if they even had a choice. Democrats aren't evil. Republicans are not evil. Government is flawed, and works to its own ends. It will never "Help" you. Keep it week, keep it locked in the basement. Never trust it. Every once in a while throw it out and get a new one because you just can't bring yourself to look at it anymore. But for the love of God, never look at it as the source of Justice, or Right, or your benefactor. It's the most evil thing in your life you can not live without.

Re:Legal Extortion? (1)

manu0601 (2221348) | more than 2 years ago | (#38991543)

"The government officials involve either worked for the very businesses they are now prosecuting prior to their government jobs, or will soon after retirement. You can't stop that, it's always going to happen." Of course you can. You just need laws that limit political funding to reasonable amount given by individuals. Also forbid industrial ownership of medias, and things will be in a better shape. There is also room for far much radical change, for instance you could dump elections and randomly select the government, just like they did in Athens in the antiquity.

Re:Legal Extortion? (1)

zill (1690130) | more than 2 years ago | (#38991751)

You just need laws that limit political funding to reasonable amount given by individuals.

Too bad SCOTUS shot it down. [wikipedia.org]

Also forbid industrial ownership of medias

Let me be the devil's advocate here: wouldn't that be infringing on the freedom of the press and the freedom of speech? In trying to safeguard democracy you're ironically abridging the two essential freedoms that make democracy possible in the first place.

Re:Legal Extortion? (4, Informative)

manu0601 (2221348) | more than 2 years ago | (#38991905)

As Henri Lacordaire said "Entre le fort et le faible, entre le riche et le pauvre, entre le maître et le serviteur, c'est la liberté qui opprime et la loi qui affranchit." Google translates this into "Between the high and low, between rich and poor, between master and servant, it is freedom which oppresses and the law that liberates."

Re:Legal Extortion? (1)

Tenebrousedge (1226584) | more than 2 years ago | (#38992309)

One of the most insightful comments I've ever read on here.

Re:Legal Extortion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38996243)

A priest, opposed to freedom? No way!

Though that's not to say he's wrong. The law liberates quite a nice chunk of my wages every month...

Re:Legal Extortion? (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 2 years ago | (#38991695)

"And again, the government isn't here to help you. Figure that out and this all makes a lot more sense. The laws written to govern these industries, were written by the industries themselves."

I am aware of this. That was part of my point.

But actually the government *IS* here to help me. That is the reason for its existence. It has increasingly been failing to do so, granted. But that is what it's for: national defense, etc. Things that are difficult for me to do on my own.

Re:Legal Extortion? (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#38991867)

Yeah, those central African nations are a real paradise! Why are you still here?

Re:Legal Extortion? (3, Interesting)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#38991157)

Not really upstate NY near Saratoga has a Global Foundry (AMD) chip facility that is expected to revitalize the area around NY capital (Albany). It is just as likely that New York State did the lawsuit just to get rid of the competition.

Re:Legal Extortion? (5, Informative)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38991421)

Its actually quite simple, Intel got away with rigging the markets. First they bribed the OEMs to take the P4 and kill the Athlon which is why when the Athlon was stomping the P4 you couldn't find hardly a single Athlon but you could find Duron/Sempron because part of their bribes were based on how many you sold of the competitor's chips and they were given a higher quota of the weak chips. Now how anybody, when one of the former CEOs called Intel kickbacks "like cocaine' and during the MHz wars there were several quarters that dell wouldn't have shown a profit without Intel kickbacks, how anybody can say they shouldn't get busted for that is beyond me, this is even worse than what MSFT was doing with the OEMs.

Secondly to this very day you can take a Via CPU (the only chip that lets you change CPUID) and any of the major benchmarks, change the CPUID to Intel and watch the chip score 30% or higher than the exact same CPU which is because Intel rigs their compiler. this is also well known and documented and goes back years, for those that haven't read it here [xtremesystems.org] is a link to get you started. BTW note that even though they were supposed to remove the "cripple AMD" function instead all they did was documented it, and certainly not in any easy way to find, at least not on the compiler website last i checked. To compare this would be like rigging Windows so that when FOSS code is run it hangs and drags down the FOSS programs to make them inferior to MSFT's own programs. this is still affecting reviews to this day such as this quote I remember from a review of netbooks "The benchmarks we ran all say the Atom 525 beats the E350 by a very large margin but for some reason the real world tests don't seem to bare this out" sorry i can't remember offhand where, i believe netbookreviews was the name of the blog.

Both of these frankly should have gotten Intel seriously busted for antitrust but instead they were able to slip a check for 1.25 billion to AMD, which frankly was far less than they made by crippling their competitor and forcing AMD to sell its fabs just to stay afloat, and all the problems at least in the US went bye bye just like TFA. I was someone that bought Intel exclusively since the 386Dx but i also believe in having a fair market and I simply can't support outright market rigging of this level. Frankly Intel should have been busted just like MSFT and been watched like a hawk for a decade to make sure they couldn't pull this kind of crap. i only hope the EU busts the hell out of them because its obvious in this "corporation yay!" climate we have in the government now there is no way Intel has to worry about the USA saying anything, no matter what they do. hell if the MSFT antitrust came up in today's climate not only would they not have been busted, they probably would have been rewarded with more tax breaks!

You'd think with one party supposedly championing the free market as the solution to everything they'd care about someone subverting it but i guess the only free market they care about is the one where they can sell their services to the highest bidder.

Re:Legal Extortion? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38992263)

Complaining that the Intel compiler optimizes instructions differently/better for Intel CPUs and not for other vendors is not an anti-trust matter. It is akin to saying MSFT is violating anti-trust because they "rig" their OS to run apps built using .Net extensions "better" (faster/prettier/etc) than apps cross-compiled using Qt. Yes, they are in the business of writing tools that support their business model -- that is not anti-trust.

If Intel was crossing the line into predatory pricing, then that may qualify as anti-trust, but you have to prove they crossed the line. Predatory pricing is "the practice of dropping prices of a product so much that in order one's smaller competitors cannot cover their costs and fall out of business." I do not believe Intel effectively dropped the prices of P4 (even including rebates) far enough that it was below a level where AMD could not compete to cover the costs of their business. Even if we accept your premise that there were financial quarters in which Dell only turned profit due to such rebates, this is not predatory. You could possibly try to argue that such a "deal" is collusion, but that is still a jump and a leap away from anything anti-trust.

Re:Legal Extortion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38992313)

Intel's limits on AMD processors that could be sold if a company was to use any Intel processors as well was anti-competitive, even if the kickbacks weren't (and really, they were). Also, the compiler crippling wasn't just things optimized slightly better for Intel processors; rather, the compiler refused to allow any advanced instruction sets to be run on non-Intel processors, even if that other processor had full support. As the GP noted, changing a VIA processor so that it appears to the binary as an Intel processor improved its speed by ~30 percent. That's not Intel-specific optimization, that's just crippling the competition. Further, this was all entirely undocumented and unknown for some time. Given how dependent the processor market is on having the best processor at the current time, this false appearance of Intel's superiority was immensely damaging. 10 billion would have been more accurate than 1.25, certainly.

Re:Legal Extortion? (2)

Khyber (864651) | more than 2 years ago | (#38992325)

"Complaining that the Intel compiler optimizes instructions differently/better for Intel CPUs and not for other vendors is not an anti-trust matter"

It most certainly is when a chip NOT from Intel is identified as an Intel and suddenly has this massive performance increase in the same benchmark.

That's called fucking rigging, and it's a goddamned deceptive lie and totally anti-competitive.

Re:Legal Extortion? (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#38993175)

Actually I would disagree with you - Intel isnt required to know the features of non-Intel chips as well as it's own, so is perfectly within it's rights to not apply any optimisations to such chips.

From earlier discussions on this topic, that's all Intel were doing - they weren't going out of their way to gimp non-Intel chip, they were just treating it as an unknown and the chips performance would suffer as a result. Make the chip masquerade as a known entity and it would be treated as that known entity.

Which is perfectly acceptable in my mind - Intel isn't required to have the knowledge of competitors chips that it obviously must have of it's own.

Unknown Entity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38993859)

Intel isn't required to have the knowledge of competitors chips that it obviously must have of it's own

Intel uses the CPUID instruction to check the standard x86 extension listing. This does not require any additional knowledge of the CPU Vendor, jet the compiler would disable all these standard extensions if the Vendor Id was not "GenuineIntel". How is that not going out of their way to screw over competition?

Re:Unknown Entity (1, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#38994079)

Because there is no such thing as a "standard x86 extension listing" - Intel test the optimisations for all CPUs they target, so do you expect Intel to have to also test competitors chips or do you expect them to just hope everything works fine on an Athlon as well? No, the correct thing to do is assume nothing works.

AMD can always release their own compiler...

CPUID feature bits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38995495)

They use the CPUID instruction to query the feature bits http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CPUID, yes I did not use the right name. If the VendorId != GenuineIntel the compiled program ignores the feature bits and disables the optimized paths, this happens at runtime. This instruction is part of the x86 instruction set and the feature bits are the same across all vendors.

Re:CPUID feature bits (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#38996769)

Again, as well they should - they are not beholden to test extensions and optimisations on third party chips, only their own. If its not their chip, then they cannot be 100% sure that the maker of said chip has implemented everything correctly and they should be disabled.

I still do not see an actual issue here, just a perceived issue thats being pushed by those who really want to find a problem with Intel.

Re:CPUID feature bits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39003937)

they cannot be 100% sure that the maker of said chip has implemented everything correctly

By your logic the program should completely refuse to run on a non intel system, after all the competitor could mess up the normal instructions. The issue is more with people that use the intel compiler for benchmarks (which happens since intel did not document this "feature").

Re:CPUID feature bits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39003959)

Intel doesn't guarantee any program compiled with ICC will run at all on a non-Intel chip. That's the chip manufacturer's job.

Re:Legal Extortion? (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38997045)

BTW here [arstechnica.com] is some proof and note this is only a single run with a single benchmark software, they didn't investigate further. other sites have run both games and other benchmarks and found the same or worse. Pay particular attention to the memory subsystem test, when it is changed from 'Centaur Hauls' to "Genuine Intel' the test suddenly gives the Via chip a 48% increase in score!

I just wish i could find the site again where a programmer took apart the code and saw what it was doing (maybe somebody can find me a link please?) and here is what he found: If CPUID = Genuine Intel then have full SSE support, if CPUID = Authentic AMD then force code to run in X87 mode. since X87 has been depreciated since the late 90s we are talking about tying a fricking boat anchor to anything that uses ICC and runs on AMD or Via!

To me this is the smoking gun that proves beyond a shadow of a doubt, and for those that say "But but..maybe they are afraid that AMD doesn't have full SSE support!" riddle me this...why does it do the SAME TRICK to a Pentium 3? I can answer that, because in 2002 the Pentium 3 would score more than 30% higher than the first generation P4 Netburst because naturally those long pipes made cache misses a serious problem. After the ICC was rigged guess what happened? in ALL the benchmarks suddenly the P4 scored more than 40% HIGHER than the P3! Now nobody noticed at the time because that was when the new P4 was released and everyone figured they got the bugs out, but that programmer that took the code apart ran a benchmark on the same second gen P4 alongside a last gen P3 and found with the cripple code disabled the P3 again stomped the second gen P4. this leaves NO doubt, the ICC cripple code was designed to rig benchmarks and make the Athlon and any chip Intel wasn't pushing look worse than the P4 which we all know now to be false. When the OEMs started using Athlon they simply paid the OEMs bribes not to sell AMD chips, again how can anyone not call it what it is? This is even more blatant than MSFT charging for Windows based on how many machines they sold with competitor's OSes!

Re:Legal Extortion? (2)

Patch86 (1465427) | more than 2 years ago | (#38992947)

Read it again. We're not talking about Intel compilers working better with Intel chips. We're talking about Intel compilers arbitrarily running a processor faster if it's ID is an Intel one. You can take a Via chip- same architecture, same everything- and fool the computer into thinking it's an Intel product, and it'll run faster for no reason at all.

This would be the equivalent of MS Windows arbitrarily running code slower unless it has a unique "made by Microsoft" identifier.

Re:Legal Extortion? (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38997595)

Thank you. This is what amazes me about those that have a perception bubble regarding Intel, as you said it isn't about running Intel chips faster its about tying a boat anchor to anything that is NOT Intel and its even worse than that. Did you know that Intel does the same thing to the Pentium 3? to me this is the smoking gun, the proof that removes ALL doubt that its benchmark rigging. You see the Pentium 3 was stomping the early P4 by nearly 40%, because the super long pipes made cache misses painfully slow.

Now you can take the EXACT SAME CODE and compile it with an open compiler like GCC and you'll see that a first gen P4 will score slower than a late model P3, it was so pronounced that a 1.1GHz P3 would stomp a 1.7GHz P4, the cache misses caused that big a penalty. yet to take that same code and compile it with ICC and wham! suddenly that same P4 is scoring more than 40% higher than the P3! this is thanks to the ICC being rigged to only look at CPUID, if it has the P4 or greater CPUID it will run full SEE without even bothering to check further, but if it gives a CPUID of a P3 (Which IIRC was simply Intel and a model number, like 586) or AMD or Via it will automatically dump the entire code path into X87 mode, again without bothering to check for the standard CPU feature bits which have been standard for over 20 years.

Now Patch86 I don't see how anybody can apologize or excuse it when we have such an obvious smoking gun, because if Intel was only concerned about SSE support how would they not know what their own pentium 3 supported? there is only one answer that fits the facts, its that intel purposely and with malice of forethought rigged their compiler so that any code, including ALL of the popular benchmarks, would show the chips Intel wanted to push as scoring better than they would in a non rigged test. this is no different and just as blatant as the "quack.exe" rigging that Nvidia did with their FX series drivers, only it isn't as easy for people to test themselves as only Via has a CPUID that can be changed on the fly. But to test it all you have to do is compile the same code on both the GCC and ICC compilers and see for yourself, the ICC one will run slower on ALL AMD, Via, and Pentium 3 CPUs, whereas the GCC will run equally on all. this is as blatant a rigging as one could get and I only hope that you will do as I do and point out this fact whenever you see reviews where comments are allowed. And I'm no AMD fanboi, in fact until this came out i was a lifelong Intel man but I can't support obvious market rigging and corruption, I just can't. But its bad enough I can tell when a program is compiled with ICC, because it acts like a slug even on this Phenom X6 I have now, pretty obvious IMHO.

Re:Legal Extortion? (1)

lwriemen (763666) | more than 2 years ago | (#38994583)

Frankly Intel should have been busted just like MSFT

It sounds like they were. Microsoft got away with a slap on the wrist; there was no remedy in the PC market that removed their monopoly, or it's influence. By the time the Microsoft trial concluded, the damage was done, so major intervention would have been required. Even Judge Jackson's remedies were a little on the soft side, and they got overturned for much weaker ones.

The one thing Intel didn't get was the "convicted illegal monopolist" label, which really hasn't hurt Microsoft much. People still have the mistaken impression that Gates is some kind of technical genius and Microsoft must make really good products or it wouldn't be so big. I agree that Intel should have gotten the label, if it was unfairly influencing the markets.

Re:Legal Extortion? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#38992967)

yes, it's just cashing on the company.

ridiculous really, that you can settle without guilt being established.

Re:Legal Extortion? (1)

AssholeMcGee (2521806) | more than 2 years ago | (#38993661)

US Attorney trying to get hired for some stupid show on MSNBC (or any of the crap channels) .............. Great way to spend tax money!!!!! Intel knew they were in the wrong, or they felt the US Attorney could prolong this for years, this is often what the US Attorney offices does.. No proof of anything but that will not stop us. LOL

Re:Legal Extortion? (1)

Cute Fuzzy Bunny (2234232) | more than 2 years ago | (#38999145)

Worse than that. The taxpayers of new york paid the salaries and benefits of a bunch of people in the AG's office, who failed to produce a result, but got reimbursed for their efforts. Is that money being returned to the taxpayers? Yeah, I didnt think so. Nothing like a nice double dip, with a boatload of incompetence to show for it.

How about this? The AG's office returns the money to the taxpayers, the people who worked on this all get fired because they start lawsuits they dont win against a company that was probably doing nothing more than exercising good capitalism, and everyone lives happily ever after.

Can somebody link, please? (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#38990800)

TFA

This comes on the heels of a late-2011 court ruling which “greatly reduced the scope of the New York Attorney General’s lawsuit.”

Which court ruling?
I can't remember to see something on /. at the time

Re:Can somebody link, please? (5, Funny)

zill (1690130) | more than 2 years ago | (#38991189)

Here you go. [scribd.com]

On a related note, I wish there was a job where you just google things for people. That seems to be the only thing I'm good at now.

Re:Can somebody link, please? (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#38991231)

Thanks in heaps.

May the mods offer you heaps of +Informative!! (I would, but since I posted...)

Re:Can somebody link, please? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38992609)

I miss Google Answers [google.com]

Re:Can somebody link, please? (1)

Drogo007 (923906) | more than 2 years ago | (#38995211)

If only there were a way to search [lmgtfy.com] for information like that

Re:Can somebody link, please? (1)

karnal (22275) | more than 2 years ago | (#38995435)

I vaguely remember commercials for a service that you could dial up by phone and ask questions - and they'd find you answers - probably using any search engines available. This was maybe a year ago? Haven't seen any thing like that since. But since smart phones have taken off, I don't (didn't?) see much use for that service. Probably out of business by now....

Maybe you could google it for me to see if it's still around lol

Reads like an advertisement (0)

vigyanik (781631) | more than 2 years ago | (#38990853)

"If there ever was any"? Give me a break.

It's a Sweetheart Deal, Not Extortion (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38990893)

In the end, Intel gets double-jeopardy protection for the bargin-bin price of funding the NY AG office for a couple years. It's like bribery, but way more efficient.

Re:It's a Sweetheart Deal, Not Extortion (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#38991121)

In the end, Intel gets double-jeopardy protection for the bargin-bin price of funding the NY AG office for a couple years.

Might not be... there's no court ruling on it (this means another AG may want to restart the brouhaha)

Let's call it what it is (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38990921)

a bribe.

AMD's new FAB in Upstate New York.... (0, Flamebait)

CajunArson (465943) | more than 2 years ago | (#38990983)

I'm sure that the fact that Intel's main competitor is building a new fab in Upstate New York with the strong added backing of IBM (based in Armonk, NY) had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS LAWSUIT.

Nope, politicians in New York are completely uncorruptable and would never try to do a shakedown of a competitor to in-state businesses in order to gain political capital for a run as governor and to finance the sweetheart deals they give out to attract business in the first place.

P.S. --> INTEL ALWAYS BAD!! AMD ALWAYS GOOD!! (keep the blind faith!)

This is how.... (0)

wbr1 (2538558) | more than 2 years ago | (#38991013)

...Chriss Dodd wanted things to work for his interests. No wonder he was crying, he bought way more wheel grease than 6.5 mill and still got denied.

Justice for sale.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38991531)

You don`t have to admit to anything or change any of your practices as long as you spread the wealth a little our way. Everything can be bought in America.

Intel has a history (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38991661)

Is this for secretly fudging their compilers to favour their own CPUs or is this for paying kickbacks to PC manufacturers for locking out the competition?

Don't buy Intel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38992799)

If you buy Intel, you sponsor illegitimate business tactics, anticompetitive behaviour and outright bribery to make allegations go away so they can continue to screw with the market.

Intel runs afoul of laws all around the world every few years. They pay an insignificant amount of money so they can continue screwing everybody and we're slowly but surely moving towards a monopoly.

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