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Intel appeals EC antitrust findings

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October 23, 2008 10:32:13 PM

Intel's losing the battle.... guilty as charge and they know it.

Intel appeals EC antitrust findings
Business and Law
By Wolfgang Gruener
Tuesday, October 14, 2008 17:49

Intel said it has filed an appeal with the Court of First Instance (CFI) in Europe in response to the European Commission’s Statement of Objections (SSO) issued in July of this year. In that SSO, the EC outlined its “preliminary conclusion) that Intel violated European competition rules:

“First, Intel has provided substantial rebates to a leading European personal computer (PC) retailer conditional on it selling only Intel-based PCs. Secondly, Intel made payments in order to induce a leading Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) to delay the planned launch of a product line incorporating an AMD-based CPU. Thirdly, in a subsequent period, Intel has provided substantial rebates to that same OEM conditional on it obtaining all of its laptop CPU requirements from Intel.”

In summary, the EC concluded that Intel had an “overall anti-competitive strategy aimed at excluding AMD or limiting its access to the market.”

Intel had eight weeks to reply to the SSO and apparently filed a document last month. The company today said that it is “asking the CFI to overrule Commission decisions that the company believes will hinder its ability to conduct a fair and effective defense against the charges contained in the SSO.” The company also noted that discussions to resolve the matter were unsuccessful: “Intel had tried to resolve these procedural issues, which it believes involve fundamental issues of fairness, with the Commission but unfortunately those efforts did not succeed.”

Further information about the appeal was withheld.

http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/39735/122/
October 24, 2008 12:30:00 AM

ignore the troll
October 24, 2008 1:26:10 AM

Unless there was another thread within the past 10 days about that article... I must have missed it.

Though hardly any details come out of that article, I usually don't like the mention of "procedural issues" as the basis of an appeal. I know some procedures are grounded in logic, such as not allowing testimony under duress, allowing both sides enough time to research an issue and counterargue, and so forth. But if the EC allegations are true, this should be heard in open court instead of an appeal blocking the complaint from ever reaching court.

That evidence should be disclosed and dissected; Intel should have the opportunity to show whether AMD was doing the same things, i.e., whether these were common practices for the industry.

Some AMD fans here might claim that AMD would have grown a lot during the Pentium 4 era and be able to compete toe-to-toe with Intel today, but I offer these mitigating factors:

1) Fab expension takes a lot of time and resources, and outsourcing is not a trivial decision to make. Vertical integration between design and manufacturing saved AMD money but also slowed whatever growth they could get.

2) Fab expansion is a commitment for the future; if your future processor line sucks, you'll probably end up paying for idle fabs.

3) You can have all the money in the industry for R&D and still make a flop. Pentium 4.

4) Standard interest rate for retroactive damages isn't that much.

5) Punitive damages hurt. Showing bad intent hurts much more than whatever damage was actually sustained (as I said above, usually greatly mitigated).

Intel can afford good lawyers; I'm sure they've thought about all these factors and know better what they're guilty/innocent of, but what's fair is to let the truth out. I think they're just stalling; history tells me something will come out of it, but whether it will be close to fair, history cannot say.

I have unanswered questions, too. Being in the same industry, Intel should be quite aware of AMD's limitations. Why would they offer these rebates if they should have known AMD would be capacity constrained? Perhaps Intel was worried AMD would not have made a certain mistake it did in the x2 era?

Anyway I'm also preaching ideals; reality is a deviation. But the outcome would affect the industry; why not discuss it with what we know?
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a c 126 à CPUs
October 24, 2008 1:34:30 AM

Considering how long AMD has been at this I am sure that the amount of money they have paid lawyers could have almost help to expand their FABs. That and not being able to come remotley close to producing the amount of chips Intel can.

My only problem with it is when the EC fines Intel why do they take all the money and not give any to AMD? Seems like greed to me. I would think if anything if they find Intel guilty or fine them that AMD would get a small part of the money.
October 24, 2008 2:05:09 AM

" Secondly, Intel made payments in order to induce a leading Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) to delay the planned launch of a product line incorporating an AMD.... "

Thats the one I dont like. Everything else may be business as usual, but if they paid an OEM just to delay an AMD product, thats big time trouble there
a b à CPUs
October 24, 2008 2:43:58 AM

I like turtles
October 24, 2008 2:52:12 AM

A turtle go down the toilet if you flush...it
a c 126 à CPUs
October 24, 2008 3:17:48 AM

JAYDEEJOHN said:
" Secondly, Intel made payments in order to induce a leading Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) to delay the planned launch of a product line incorporating an AMD.... "

Thats the one I dont like. Everything else may be business as usual, but if they paid an OEM just to delay an AMD product, thats big time trouble there


But here is what I do not like. If the OEMs took this payoff shouldn't they as well be fined or charged? Why do they get off scott free if they had a hand in it?
October 24, 2008 3:23:50 AM

Thats up to the judges I guess, if its possible for them to do so, and they want to pursue it. But yes, they should be held culpable too, tho, for both Intel and AMD, it goes against their favor by doing so
a c 126 à CPUs
October 24, 2008 3:32:38 AM

Of course AMD wont push it against the OEMs because then AMD would lose their standing with them. ANd that would cause AMD more problems.
October 24, 2008 3:38:26 AM

As it would with Intel too. Im not sure if its within the judges power/jurisdiction to do it however. Lets face it, if the OEMs got nailed too, it wouldnt be good for anyone
October 24, 2008 4:01:08 AM

I just want less costly Intel CPU's
October 24, 2008 5:11:12 AM

jimmysmitty said:
But here is what I do not like. If the OEMs took this payoff shouldn't they as well be fined or charged? Why do they get off scott free if they had a hand in it?

The point of the aplicable anti-trust laws is to protect competition.
In order to do that, there are special constraints placed on monopoly shareholders.
Intel is considered a major monopoly player. As such, thier ability to limit competition, is very much curtailed.
The OEMs are not monopoly shareholders, and so do not have to play by the special rules.
Intel's defence has usually stemed from the unfairness of the law. That seems reasonable, until you realize that competition is an absolutely integral part of capitalism.
The EU is the third court to find that Intel had used tactics that they are prohibited from using.
When this would become extremely telling would be if AMD were to be removed. At that point, some may demand that Intel be broken up.
October 24, 2008 6:42:27 AM

You mean like what theyre doing and have done to M$? Thats my point with all this anti AMD stuff, Intel will get clobered, or just start selling in China, if they have a true monopoly, which its close now. And then wed see higher prices no matter what Intel tried to do.
a c 126 à CPUs
October 24, 2008 7:28:10 AM

endyen said:
The point of the aplicable anti-trust laws is to protect competition.
In order to do that, there are special constraints placed on monopoly shareholders.
Intel is considered a major monopoly player. As such, thier ability to limit competition, is very much curtailed.
The OEMs are not monopoly shareholders, and so do not have to play by the special rules.
Intel's defence has usually stemed from the unfairness of the law. That seems reasonable, until you realize that competition is an absolutely integral part of capitalism.
The EU is the third court to find that Intel had used tactics that they are prohibited from using.
When this would become extremely telling would be if AMD were to be removed. At that point, some may demand that Intel be broken up.


So its ok to cooperate in unfair and unlawful practices for say Dell?

Thats like saying "Well you didn't murder the guy you just helped, you are free to go."

Its BS if you ask me. I think everyone who had a hand in anything like it be held responsable to their part. They didn't have to accept it but probably did, if it is tru, out of greed.
a b à CPUs
October 24, 2008 10:39:38 AM

I like the idea of someguy7's turtles too.

Tell us more about the turtles as the antitrust suit is pretty tiring now.

I do hope AMD gets some cash from the deal but today the turtles seem a better point of discussion.

Kowabunga doodes !!
a c 126 à CPUs
October 24, 2008 11:25:19 AM

If they get flushed I wounder if they will find some ooze and become the TMNT or just monsters who try to kill and eat us. Maybe a Godzilla turtle.
a b à CPUs
October 24, 2008 12:22:56 PM

Intel are the Hafniums ... AMD are the Hafnotiums ... ??

October 26, 2008 5:43:12 PM

WR said:
Unless there was another thread within the past 10 days about that article... I must have missed it.

Though hardly any details come out of that article, I usually don't like the mention of "procedural issues" as the basis of an appeal. I know some procedures are grounded in logic, such as not allowing testimony under duress, allowing both sides enough time to research an issue and counterargue, and so forth. But if the EC allegations are true, this should be heard in open court instead of an appeal blocking the complaint from ever reaching court.


Actually, if you read this closely, Intel is appealing to the court, not trying to keep it from reaching court. This case has never seen an EU courtroom-- it's been purely administrative in nature. I'd bet you dollars to donuts the first time it actually sees an actual courtroom is in an appeal against the commission's decision.
October 26, 2008 5:49:40 PM

endyen said:

The EU is the third court to find that Intel had used tactics that they are prohibited from using.
When this would become extremely telling would be if AMD were to be removed. At that point, some may demand that Intel be broken up.


Again, not a court, a regulatory agency. No judge or jury, but appointed enforcers. It's like the SEC or FCC in the States.

I don't think there has been a real, actual court with a judge which has found against Intel yet for antitrust. Has there?

October 26, 2008 6:15:37 PM

Yeah, no court has found Intel guilty of this one. But I believe no court has heard this issue, either.

By court, I use the layman's reference for a trial. Apellate and procedural hearings may take place in a physical courtroom, yet the judge won't necessarily examine any of the evidence, let alone have a jury or panel of judges hear it and make a judgment based on comparing case evidence from both sides.

The EU stands to recover millions or billions from Intel. Intel stands to save millions to billions in legal and punitive fees. The claims are significant, but also commissions don't make claims out of the blue. I don't trust anyone to know who is right without the evidence from both sides coming together.
October 26, 2008 6:42:09 PM

this could end up dragged out until my 3 year old granddaughter graduates high school lol
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