It is truly amazing when you find that someone who has been on the wrong side of every court case they bring to the fore, finally gets one right. I suppose you could say it’s all in the odds, but the attorney general of New York has been on a tear, being on the wrong side of things, for a number of years, not merely a few months.
Now it is seen that Andrew Cuomo is trying to earn another stripe by righting the wrongs done by Intel for a number of years. It seems like things have been going bad for Intel for a while this year, as the European Union has been haranguing the company for the better part of this year, for the exact same thing.
The story is further elaborated on in an article from Tech Connect -
The 2009 legal nightmare continues for Intel as just six months after being fined a massive €1.06 billion by the European Commission, it is now taken to court in the US too on antitrust charges. Today New York’s attorney general Andrew M. Cuomo filed a complaint against Intel claiming that the number one microprocessor manufacturer has violated state and federal anti-monopoly laws by engaging in illegal actions in order to maintain its monopoly power and prices in the market for microprocessors.
This is not the first time that Intel has had to fight off these kinds of allegations. The problems began almost as soon as upstart AMD had the temerity to try to compete with Intel, instead of simply being a second source for them.
According to Cuomo’s complaint, the last few years have seen Intel offering computer makers billions of dollars in ‘rebates’ in exchange for agreements to use only its CPUs and not those of main rival, AMD. Apparently, Intel also threatened to and punished PC builders that were thought to be working with its competitors. The ‘penalties’ included cutting off payments the PC makers received from Intel, directly funding the manufacturers’ competitors, and ending joint development ventures.
Ooh, payola, courts don’t like that kind of talk. Some little nit to pick about fair-play. It’s sad it takes so very long for these things to come to a head, for if it had actually come sooner, say when the Opteron and Athlon 64 were trouncing anything with a little “i” on it, and Netburst architecture had become a dirty couple of words, AMD might have had the development money to jump out with another set of winners.
“Rather than compete fairly, Intel used bribery and coercion to maintain a stranglehold on the market,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “Intel’s actions not only unfairly restricted potential competitors, but also hurt average consumers who were robbed of better products and lower prices. These illegal tactics must stop and competition must be restored to this vital marketplace.”
Nothing like getting your unfair share…if you’re Intel. Hopefully this will progress through the courts while people still have memory of the comparative performance of the early Opteron and Athlon 64. Many people today seem to think that AMD has always been an also-ran, with no idea of the earlier triumphs of the K7 and Thunderbirds, while Intel was trying hard to keep up with a Pentium III.
Intel is said to have paid Dell no less than $2 billion in rebates in 2006 alone, and to have granted the company a privileged position over other PC makers in order to not adopt AMD’s CPUs for its products.
Dell arch-rival, HP also received hundreds of millions of dollars in rebates but for capping company sales of AMD-based products at 5% of its business desktop PCs. HP was also threatened by Intel with the derailment of its server development if it wouldn’t slow down the promotion of AMD products.
Not sure if Carly Fiorina was at the helm of HP during this time, but I’m certain if she was, it will come out, now that she has announced she is running in California for Barbara Boxer’s seat in the Senate.
As for another major player, IBM, it was threatened to not promote AMD-powered servers, but also got a cool, cool but illegal, $130 million from Intel to not release AMD servers.
To read the complaint against Intel in full click here (PDF file).
It shows that greed seeks its own level, and it does not matter how much money a company makes, greed always wants more, many times to exclusion of laws, morals, and scruples.
Quote of the day:
There is an evil tendency underlying all our technology – the tendency to do what is reasonable even when it isn’t any good.
- Robert Pirsig