Allegations stack up against Intel

EU competition - Intel From the Financial Times 17/07/08:

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.


  1. No matter how much better Intel processors are, AMD should be given equal opportunities to appeal to the general public! :)

  2. I fully agree, Andro. But AMD still need to turn the wick up a bit and stop screwing themselves over so much. Let's hope it's not too late for them.

  3. I Take it that the competition authorities are involved in this case; if they are, then I am frankly rather surprised that they have come out swinging on behalf of the smaller concern; I thought the DGComp was of a mind to literally let dog eat dog, these days....

  4. Presumably any truth of anticompetive processes is due to a different department than the engineering section, I appreciated your comment that they seem to have also out competed AMD as well as allegedly cheated them.

    I think AMD's takeover of ATi was a brave move that they've not quite recovered from which is a shame because the technologies that can lead to are very interesting in themselves. The problem is that Intel have dedicated a lot of resources to and had a lot of success with making portable processors while AMD has not, which then meant that the market shift to more laptops than desktops in the first world hit them badly. I always bought AMD processors for my desktop computers because they were a more affordable part than comparable Intel models but since I switched to factory built laptops I've only ever bought Centrino models.

    Although I do remember reading about a fencer who had modified his foil to have a button that would give him a point just whenever he pressed it and after he was caught proceded to out fence every single other person anyway, so he cheated for the sake of it while still being better than everyone else.


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