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EU Airs Out Intel's Dirty Laundry

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 81 comments

The European Union has laid bare the dirty details of its evidence against Intel, publishing emails and notes from Intel executives that show the company was actively trying to smother the competition.

Intel has long contested the $1.45 billion fine from the European Union's antitrust division and yesterday, the EU responded to the appeal Intel filed in July by making a "non-confidential version" of its ruling final.

So what do we know now that we didn't know before? When the EU announced its ruling before the summer, it said that Intel was guilty of anti-competitive practices but now, we're finding out just what Intel was up to and good gracious if it doesn't paint Intel in a decidedly unflattering light.

The EU release includes details of rebates with manufacturers such as Dell, Lenovo and HP. Check out the deets of some of the deals below.

Rebates paid to Dell from December 2002 to December 2005 were conditioned on Dell purchasing exclusively Intel CPUs. For example, in an internal Dell presentation of February 2003, Dell noted that should it switch any part of its CPU supplies from Intel to its competitor AMD, Intel retaliation "could be severe and prolonged with impact to all LOBs [Lines of Business]."

The deal with HP was a little different. HP was awarded rebates provided the company adhered to several unwritten requirements. First and foremost, HP was to purchase at least 95 percent of its business desktop system from Intel. Second, although HP could purchase the remaining 5 percent from AMD, this was subject to further restrictive conditions. These included only selling AMD-based business desktops to small and medium enterprises, only via direct distribution channels (rather than distributors), and on HP postponing the launch of its first AMD-based business desktop in Europe by six months.

An internal email from HP and dates September 2004 reads, "You can NOT use the commercial AMD line in the channel in any country, it must be done direct. If you do and we get caught (and we will) the Intel moneys (each month) is gone (they would terminate the deal). The risk is too high."

Similar restrictions were places on deals with Acer and Lenovo with the former postponing the launch of an AMD-based notebook from September 2003 to January 2004.

Check out the full release from the European Union by clicking here.

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Top Comments
  • 31 Hide
    Jerky_san , September 22, 2009 5:00 PM
    Wow that is some pretty dirty laundry..
  • 27 Hide
    SpadeM , September 22, 2009 4:58 PM
    Let's see the "EU is leaching money of the poor and righteous American company" argument their point now.
  • 24 Hide
    Anonymous , September 22, 2009 5:33 PM
    During 2003-2006 AMD had the Athlon64 lineup that was killing the Intel Pentium4 brand in all reviews and publications. AMD certainly deserves to get some of this rulings money in their pocket since Intel cost them lots of potential market-share with this obviously corrupt and illegal practices. Boy... I dont know how anybody could respect a company like Intel after something like this. Kind of makes you wonder also why their products are so unreasonably expensive.
Other Comments
  • 27 Hide
    SpadeM , September 22, 2009 4:58 PM
    Let's see the "EU is leaching money of the poor and righteous American company" argument their point now.
  • 31 Hide
    Jerky_san , September 22, 2009 5:00 PM
    Wow that is some pretty dirty laundry..
  • 18 Hide
    charlesxuma , September 22, 2009 5:05 PM
    i'm actually considering throwing away my core i7 after this article. thats it, i'm going all AMD next build. I SWEAR!!
  • 23 Hide
    soo-nah-mee , September 22, 2009 5:18 PM
    I hope this results in more sales for AMD. It's not that I hate Intel, I'd just like to see more balance in the competition for the consumer's benefit. AMD deserves much more credit than their commercial sales reflects, and this story shows a major reason why.
  • 15 Hide
    soo-nah-mee , September 22, 2009 5:19 PM
    ..in fact this just pushed my over the fence. I'm going to order a Phenom II X4 965 to upgrade my 720 right now.
  • 23 Hide
    crisisavatar , September 22, 2009 5:22 PM
    This is why my money goes to AMD when they have competing parts.
  • 12 Hide
    charlesxuma , September 22, 2009 5:24 PM
    soo-nah-meeI hope this results in more sales for AMD. It's not that I hate Intel, I'd just like to see more balance in the competition for the consumer's benefit. AMD deserves much more credit than their commercial sales reflects, and this story shows a major reason why.


    i completely agree with you, thats what i'm gona do from now on, i'll be purchasing AMD/ATI only products, and hopefully others will too, doing this on large scales will balance competition and therefore even intel dedicated fans will benefit. (LONG LIVE THE UNDERDOG)
  • 16 Hide
    magicandy , September 22, 2009 5:32 PM
    I hope this gets published on television news so more than just the internet audience will hear about this. Intel will probably do absolutely everything in its power to keep this as low-profile as possible. It's time we finally start exposing our large shyster corporations for what they really are.
  • 24 Hide
    Anonymous , September 22, 2009 5:33 PM
    During 2003-2006 AMD had the Athlon64 lineup that was killing the Intel Pentium4 brand in all reviews and publications. AMD certainly deserves to get some of this rulings money in their pocket since Intel cost them lots of potential market-share with this obviously corrupt and illegal practices. Boy... I dont know how anybody could respect a company like Intel after something like this. Kind of makes you wonder also why their products are so unreasonably expensive.
  • 23 Hide
    Anonymous , September 22, 2009 5:38 PM
    Gee, I wonder why AMD never managed to get their fair market share, and accompanying funds for R&D during the Athlon64 heyday... Bulldozer might have made it to market already, and wiped the floor with Core i7.

    F*#& you, Intel and your fanboys...
  • 23 Hide
    Anonymous , September 22, 2009 5:43 PM
    So, in light of this, I assume that the US Congress is going to investigate and deal with Intel accordingly? Or does Intel hire "lobbyists" to make "bribes/campaign contributions"?
  • 12 Hide
    njkid3 , September 22, 2009 5:47 PM
    ive always know in some way that intel was doing something nefarious when it came to their business practices. which is why i have stuck to amd products not just because they have better price to performance ratio but to also support a company that has been screwed and continues to be screwed.
  • 23 Hide
    Anonymous , September 22, 2009 5:50 PM
    Intel has been doing this since the AMD K6 days.
  • -4 Hide
    tayb , September 22, 2009 5:50 PM
    "Unwritten agreements." Uh... I guess good luck in court? That's why we sign documents instead of shaking hands and "agreeing" on terms. I signed a lease, didn't verbally agree to the lease terms with the leasing agent. A verbal agreement would be damn tough to prove in court. Good luck evicting me for violating an unwritten agreement. Then again, this is the EU, not the US court system.
  • 5 Hide
    wildwell , September 22, 2009 5:50 PM
    I wonder how this will impact Intel's Developer Forum today through Thursday.
  • 17 Hide
    nekatreven , September 22, 2009 6:02 PM
    tayb"Unwritten agreements." Uh... I guess good luck in court? That's why we sign documents instead of shaking hands and "agreeing" on terms. I signed a lease, didn't verbally agree to the lease terms with the leasing agent. A verbal agreement would be damn tough to prove in court. Good luck evicting me for violating an unwritten agreement. Then again, this is the EU, not the US court system.


    Multiple sources or correlated testimony could probably suffice as proof of a non-verbal.

    Your mention of luck is not needed however. The ruling has been made and the evidence did include the agreements. I'm pretty sure this was just the EU telling Intel where to shove their appeal paperwork.
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