back to article Otellini questions EU logic

In hitting Intel with a record 1.06 billion euro fine, EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes argued that the company has "used illegal anticompetitive practices to exclude its only competitor and reduce consumers’ choice." Speaking at a press conference in Brussels, she said "the whole story is about the consumer." But …


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  1. Shaun Hunter


    Shortly after AMD filed this suit I started seeing their chips in Gateway, Toshiba and later Dell which were previously Intel only. During the same period the HP and eMachine selection in the store I worked at was almost all AMD.That was the Back to School season that AMD took majority market share from Intel for the first time.

    This was during the period that AMD was handing Intel its ass performance wise. But I think that this had at least as much to do with their gains.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I am a first-hand witness to Intel's 'business model' and Otellini's continued brazenness. What a bastard. May he rot.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    I think that......

    The European Commission is short of cash and wanted to make this fine to pay all their "expenses" like lawnmowers,2nd homes, 3rd homes, helipads etc etc etc. This is supported by the strange comments made by the EC on TV today about how the money would used.

  4. Ian

    To be fair...

    Whilst I think what Intel did was wrong, I'm not convinced the fine is in any way a good thing.

    The fact is, AMD kit is inferior, and if this in any way increases AMD's market share simply because they're cheaper it means we're going to end up with a lot crapper hardware on the market in general.

    With Intel, yeah they're always a little more expensive but you're getting much better hardware, in general it's less power hungry, runs less hot, and runs faster. They also tend to get better additional instruction sets in their chips earlier, such as the latest SIMD technologies.

    Intel should've worked harder on the fact it offered in general (there are some cases where AMD has shown them up, but it's very infrequent nowadays) a superior product. It's only got itself to blame for getting caught, however the punishment is imo much too harsh and does indeed risk harming the consumer more as AMD peddles more of their inferior chips onto consumers.

    It's a good publicity win for the EU and it's good that Intel has been shown their are limits, but ultimately it will harm consumers and business consumers of computing equipment, including European consumers. As AMD has struggled to produce more efficient chips in recent years, it'll also not in the long term help European attempts to cut carbon emissions.

  5. E

    @Shaun Hunter

    Yes, Shaun, you did.

    The suit was intended to block some of Intel's behaviours: the suit put pressure on Intel to behave itself once it's documents were possibly under subpoena. So Intel had to cut back on the baksheesh or risk getting caught red-handed not just retrspectively. This is all documented and has been commented/analyzed/blogged to death already.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Intel bollocks

    "Our customers are in most cases larger than Intel."

    I call bollocks on that. I can pretty safely say that in my home state, there is no employer the size of Intel thus there'd be no customer bigger than Intel. Lies, damn lies and statistics. Just remember what he's saying here, folks - YOU (the little) guy don't count and can go hang yourself. It's all about the big corporates. Which I suspect is what the case was all about in the first place so no real surprise here.

    Otellini then goes on to prove what a complete idiot he is by going off his rocker basing his response to the ruling on a two page summary, and not from the who ruling. Japan, US, EU... If I were an institutional investor I'd be asking some fairly tough questions of the board right about now.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "They also tend to get better additional instruction sets in their chips earlier, such as the latest SIMD technologies." (you didn't notice the borked compilers did you? sneaky sneaky)

    That's the spirit Ian! And if we can someday finally get all of our pesky competition out of our hair, just imagine how much faster we'll be! Why, we'd be the best-est, warmest, fuzziest, nicest chipzilla you could ever want to meet. I promise!

    Or something like that,

    Paul O'

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Otellini belongs in prison for 25 years

    Otellini belongs in prison for 25 years for his crimes.

  9. Captain Thyratron

    Re: To be fair...

    And then there was that whole thing wherein Intel was the first to roll out 64-bit x86 chips, and pumped out newer, faster designs while AMD was playing violin on the deck of the Itanic and peddling inferior Pentium 4 chips for more than they were worth.

    Oops! Sorry, let me open up vim and do a little search and replace...

  10. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Eastern Quantum Communications Feeds ...... Source XSSXXXX Streams

    "It's a very competitive business. Our customers are in most cases larger than Intel. Our customers have incredible buying power and are excellent negotiators." ...... The Global Foundries Right Royal Desert Song Voice? Bellissimo!

    A Virtually Controlling Intelligence Coup. Bravo Camp Allah.

  11. EvilGav

    @ Ian

    Intel kit only gained the high ground again with the Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad chip-sets, a fairly recent addition to the line-up.

    When the case first started, almost all power users were switching allegiance to AMD and the Athlon 64 line-up of chips, the first to introduce a 64-bit architecture on an x86 based chip.

    Intel later included the 64-bit instruction set as EM64T (or something like that).

    The first multi-core chips from AMD eclipsed the Pentium D that Intel were pushing, both in performance and in power consumption.

    Today, for most people, Intel chips are the way to go, except in high-end maths based servers, were the better floating-point unit in AMD chips comes in handy, hence a lot of meteriological etc type server farms are actually AMD based.

  12. Max Vernon


    Please follow up your post including details of said lower power consumption, less heat generation, etc, etc, blah, blah, blah. Clearly you don't know nuffin.

  13. Trevor


    This isn't about AMD or Intel's current technology, or pace of technology, or the current price/performance or anything like that. What this is is very simple:

    Intel, being in a monopoly position has the ability to lean on customers, spread FUD, hand out "incentives" and "samples," and generally do things that are considered as "good business practices" when you are not a monopoly. (I.E. they are a well accepted and understood pack of business practises designed to promote your organisation, and screw your competition.) These practices are VERY common in IT, as the ball swings between those who have something cool and innovative, and those who are selling yesterdays crap.

    Now, and I know this is where you all get lost, these business practices are illegal if you are a monopoly. Why? Because capitalism is (supposed to be) something that provides the best possible advantages to everyone via the magic fairy dust of competition. If, as the 800lb gorilla amongst the mice, and you use your position to step on as many mice as you can, you're generally regarded as stifling rather than encouraging competition. You may not like it, you may disagree with it, but that is the law as it stands today.

    Intel did this; full stop. When AMD finally had a good product, rather than answering with a good product, they stepped on AMD over and over again until they could bring the great machine of their company into play and truly answer them technologically. In a competitive environment, (and without Hector Ruiz,) AMD should have been able to make huge inroads into market share, buy/build more fabs, ramp up production, sink loads of cash into R&D and actually meet Intel toe to toe for decades to come. Yes fanbois, regardless of how much you love Intel, that was how far ahead AMD was at the time all these various anti-trust investigations started.

    In the meantime and betweentime, Intel shart all over AMD, which caused them to devote an abnormal amount of their resources just to getting places like Dell to buy their chips. Not an objective soul can honestly say Dell was all Intel because there was no demand. HP ran roughshod over them for years because they didn't shift AMD kit, customers screamed up and at them to sell them AMD kit of all flavours, and Dell (amongst, I have to admit, quite a few others,) only did so when Intel said "okay, we've finally got a price/performance answer to AMD, sell whatever you want." (The fact that various lawsuits were now out against Intel, investigating this very thing might also have played into this.)

    Add in the "freebies" and "promotional items" which meant that ON THE WHOLE, company X got Y units for below the cost of production. (Thus undercutting AMD severly, who didn't have the resources to use loss leaders like that.)

    So, in short, the point is that a way back when, the 800lb Intel gorilla stepped on the AMD mouse. In doing so, they prevented AMD from capitalising on the excellent work they had done in advancing technology, and thus hampering their ability to truly pump more money into R&D, thus really cutting into their ability to be competitive in the medium and long term. This then meant that Intel had ensured that as soon as they finally caught up to AMD there would be no possible way AMD could pull ahead again.

    That ladies and gentlemen, is how the consumer was hurt by this business. Intel used tactics that are illegal to use as a monopoly to directly harm AMD's long term chances of being able to pump adequate money into R&D, and thus it's ability to be a medium or long term competitor. Does Nehalem walk all over Shanghai? Yes. Why? Because Intel spend billions making sure that it would.

    On a personal note, I would not honestly be shocked if Intel spent more money per year stepping on AMD than AMD actually had in REVENUE. You honestly have to bear in mind the difference in size of these companies. AMD is not the slightly smaller plucky underdog. AMD is vastly, VASTLY smaller than Intel, and exist only because Intel lets them continue to do so. You can bet that every year at Intel, there is a meeting between people much more intelligent and worldly than I where the question is asked: "do we make more money by allowing AMD to continue to exist, or do we wipe them out for good, and just eat the anti-trust lawsuits?"

    So please try to expand your minds beyond "AMD chips are not as good as Intel’s, thus this is all bollocks because who would buy AMD?!?!?!?!?oneoneone!!111!1oneone." Think about WHY AMD is so far behind, when they were, not that long ago, dramatically ahead.

    Thank you, and good night.

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