Allegations stack up against Intel
Having carried out raids in 2005, the European Commission formally accused Intel last year of trying to do deals with PC makers to push AMD out of the central processing unit business.
Now, according to the regulator, Intel has been sent a supplementary charge sheet, alleging that it engaged in three additional elements of abusive conduct.
The first was to have provided “substantial rebates” to a leading European computer retailer, on the condition that it sold only Intel-based PCs. The second was that Intel made payments to induce a manufacturer to delay the planned launch of a product line using an AMD-based processor.
Thirdly, the Commission claimed, Intel had provided substantial rebates to the same manufacturer on the condition that it obtain all its laptop CPUs from Intel.
As a rooter for the underdog, I’ve always liked AMD and, if memory serves me correctly, have owned at least one computer with an AMD processor inside. Just one, mind, and that’s going back a few years; for a long time I haven’t recommended an AMD processor to anyone who has the option of going for an Intel Duo or Quad Core chip. After all, why the hell would you?
So while Intel are yet to be found guilty, there usually isn’t this much smoke without a substantial smouldering somewhere behind the scenes. If the allegations of foul play are justified, it makes it ironic that Intel went on to completely out-innovate their rivals, starting firstly with the Centrino line of chips and then the Core 2 Duo range which wiped the proverbial floor with their fledgling competitor. AMD, as it stands today, are nowhere in the processor market and the company is a complete mess; they’ve just got rid of their CEO for, as Paul Thurrott reported, “someone who hasn't (yet) botched the company's attempted comeback”.
So will Intel be (eventually) found guilty and slapped with a 10% global revenue fine? Probably.
Will that be enough to save the floundering AMD? Almost certainly not.