FTC sues Intel over antitrust violations

AMD and Intel may have settled their dispute over alleged antitrust and licensing violations last month, but the snowball AMD set in motion years ago is still rolling. Earlier this morning, the Federal Trade Commission filed a formal suit against Intel, accusing the chipmaker of waging a “systematic campaign” to shut rivals out of the marketplace, thereby restricting consumer choice and stifling innovation over the past decade.

According to the FTC, Intel used “threats and rewards” to coerce major computer vendors like Dell, HP, and IBM not to buy competing microprocessors—pretty much the same allegation the European Commission used to justify fining the chipmaker for $1.44 billion in May. The FTC’s accusations go further, though.

In its announcement, the FTC expresses a belief that Intel “secretly redesigned key software, known as a compiler, in a way that deliberately stunted the performance of competitors’ CPU chips.” The agency goes on to point out that Intel is falling behind the competition in the market for graphics processors, which “have lessened the need for CPUs, and therefore pose a threat to Intel’s monopoly power.” In response, the chipmaker has purportedly “misled and deceived potential competitors in order to protect its monopoly.”

Unlike its European counterpart, the FTC doesn’t talk about exacting any fines; it claims to be after only court orders to change Intel’s business practices:

To remedy the anticompetitive damage alleged in the complaint, the FTC is seeking an order which includes provisions that would prevent Intel from using threats, bundled prices, or other offers to encourage exclusive deals, hamper competition, or unfairly manipulate the prices of its CPU or GPU chips. The FTC also may seek an order prohibiting Intel from unreasonably excluding or inhibiting the sale of competitive CPUs or GPUs, and prohibiting Intel from making or distributing products that impair the performance–or apparent performance–of non-Intel CPUs or GPUs.

Don’t expect Intel to be slapped with a court order anytime soon, however. An administrative law judge has been “tentatively scheduled” to hear FTC’s case at 10 AM… on September 15, 2010.

Meanwhile, Intel hasn’t taken long to issue a statement labeling the FTC’s case misguided and, paradoxically, harmful to consumers:

Intel has competed fairly and lawfully. Its actions have benefitted consumers. The highly competitive microprocessor industry, of which Intel is a key part, has kept innovation robust and prices declining at a faster rate than any other industry. The FTC’s case is misguided. It is based largely on claims that the FTC added at the last minute and has not investigated. In addition, it is explicitly not based on existing law but is instead intended to make new rules for regulating business conduct. These new rules would harm consumers by reducing innovation and raising prices.

Intel also sent us a comment from Senior VP and General Counsel Doug Melamed, who notes that Intel attempted to settle the case with the FTC. The agency purportedly made that impossible, however: “Settlement talks had progressed very far but stalled when the FTC insisted on unprecedented remedies – including the restrictions on lawful price competition and enforcement of intellectual property rights set forth in the complaint — that would make it impossible for Intel to conduct business.”

Comments closed
    • iamvincent
    • 10 years ago

    Good Job FTC, Good Job

    AMD do make better product, if not, at a cheaper price
    (based on various reports from this website such as
    AMD X2/3/4 series vs Intel multi-core series performance test)

    Since Intel’s products aren’t that superior, why are they having the majority
    of the market share?
    The answer should be ovbious

    • beck2448
    • 10 years ago

    Intel has great tech but unscrupulous marketers. They have stifled competition at times by AMD and nvidia. That’s why government regulation is a necessary evil as the only remedy against monopolistic behavior by the richest companies.

    • Deanjo
    • 10 years ago

    AMD better watch out as well. With their plans of locking out competitor chipsets for their CPU’s they could very well be putting themselves in the same boat.

      • just brew it!
      • 10 years ago

      Actually, no… that simply isn’t possible. AMD does not control anywhere near enough of the market to find themselves in anything resembling the same boat.

    • internetsandman
    • 10 years ago

    So…what exactly is making them schedule the case for nine months from now? Is it the worlds most epic coffee break? Or are these just extremely lazy people, putting stuff off to the absolute last acceptable moment? I’m probably uninformed, but I can’t fathom a reason why it would take nine months to prepare a hearing.

      • Anonymous Coward
      • 10 years ago

      Nothing goes quickly in law, probably because every detail can potentially matter. The courts cannot carelessly make claims, and Intel cannot carelessly deny them.

    • sircharles32
    • 10 years ago

    Wonderful. If the DOJ is still as spineless as it was when it dealt with Microsoft, Intel will barely get a slap on the wrist.

    I’m not going to hold my breath over this one.

      • sledgehammer
      • 10 years ago

      if its a 2 billion dollars slap on the wrist you should hold your breath a little..

      • 5150
      • 10 years ago

      It’s about time! I’ve been waiting all day for this!

      • alphaGulp
      • 10 years ago

      nice links!

      This AMD VP’s quote was telling of Intel’s behavior:
      l[

      • burntham77
      • 10 years ago

      People ask me why I favor AMD, despite their chips being slower. That is why.

        • just brew it!
        • 10 years ago

        They’re only slower if you want/need bleeding edge performance. In the mid-range (and below), they’re competitive.

          • shaq_mobile
          • 10 years ago

          theyve almost always been an excellent bargain for mid range. i love what theyve done with ATI. ati was previously neck and neck with nvidia, sometimes pulling ahead, but more theyve really been busting colons lately!

      • dashbarron
      • 10 years ago

      Intel, like Hitler, is just mis-understood

        • NeelyCam
        • 10 years ago

        The difference is that Hitler lost.

    • alphaGulp
    • 10 years ago

    This started off in reply to 56, but then got long enough to warrant something more so I’m rootin’ it. Regarding #56, my annoyance is with this issue, not you or your post, so pls don’t take it personally :>


    Nobody cares about your measly little investment. Nor do we care about the measly sum AMD or Intel represent, in total assets, compared to the global picture. What we care about is that as consumers we have and will suffer from this again and again.

    And by the way, what business exists out there nowadays that isn’t in some way using x86 based hardware? This cost is borne out a hundred times over per person as computers are purchased for internet, gov, bus and personal use.

    People need to realize that Intel has a monopoly in a business that is *totally* dependent on size for profitability. It is thanks to their massive market dominance in processors (all types combined, excl GPU) that Intel is _always_ the first to shrink their process. And yet, somehow they haven’t shown any particular genius at being the first to miniaturize other processes (eg. silicon used for various types of memory). Don’t you realize that being the first to release processors at smaller process means the same processor design will a) cost less per processor (smaller die) and b) create processors that consume less/run faster?

    So, with this ginormous advantage over all the competition, Intel has it pretty easy, but it’s not enough for them: they know full well what their profits are dependent on so they have jealously guarded that market share using every dirty trick you could ever think of. But they’re smart (and why shouldn’t they be) – so they only do the really dirty stuff when they need to – after all, with 5x more engineers and such, it would be hard to imagine them not being good at what they do. For example: it’s only when AMD has a better processor that you need to pay your clients not to use a larger share of AMD processors than before. And since it takes 5+ years for anti-trust proceedings to give their slap on Intel’s wrist, it’s all to easy for them to just wait until they have nullified their competitor’s advantage to show ‘authorities’ how they are doing things differently, regardless of what they did before.

    And now people think to themselves – isn’t that just business? Why on earth should I, as a businessman, ever concern myself with taking it easy on the competition? Hello??? Nobody expects Intel (or anyone else) to do so, and without anti-trust law all that’s left is a bunch of small competitors with great ideas and products can’t hope to be competitive unless they somehow manage to cancel that advantage (in addition to all the other advantages that size normally gets you in manufacturing & multinational business).

    P.S.: Intel did it again just a few months ago to nVidia by making it impossible for them to make a MB for the core i7. Picture this: now that AMD doesn’t have a competing top-end processor, by definition the only top-end systems currently available are from Intel. Another slice of the PC pie is the motherboard, and as it happens, this is a market with tiny profit margins for the low end stuff – margins so small that saving a penny per MB is significant and ridiculously high margins for the high end (there’s no way that adding an extra NIC + sound & whatnot costs them 50$). So again, naive individuals who don’t understand the MB business think that this move by Intel is of little consequence.

    Well actually, look at it from nVidia’s perspective: your Intel MB business is done (few high-end MB sales for the older generation processors) and your AMD MB business was only a working proposition because you could get economies of scale from making MB’s for Intel’s 90% of the market. Can you question nVidia’s decision to leave that market? No wonder their CEO is looking so hard for opportunities – he needs to create his own brand new market if he is to have a hope to compete!!!

    Furthermore, do you have any idea how galling it must have been to see everything you built in your MB business get destroyed at the stroke of a pen by Intel? Wow. That must really have sucked: in addition to the thousands of people laid off, there are likely a hundred different jobs involved in something that complex, and you don’t build that kind of thing overnight.

    • mcnabney
    • 10 years ago

    I lost several thousand dollars a few years back on my AMD investments. Can I sue Intel too? The behaviors that the FTC are pursuing clearly damaged AMD’s ability to compete, causing their share price to drop and my investment to lose money.

      • WaltC
      • 10 years ago

      Yes, most certainly, you can sue. However, Intel has very deep pockets and its lawyers will bury you in paper until you most likely will drop your suit. I would imagine, though, that somewhere some lawyer group is planning an Intel class-action along the lines you’ve mentioned. Much wiser I think for you to look for the occasion of such a suit being filed, and that you simply sign on as one of many damaged parties. That would be a lot cheaper and most likely net you more…;)

      The thing about “losing money” when owning stocks that is problematic is that just as nobody commands us to buy a particular stock at a particular time, no one commands us to sell that stock at a particular time, especially to sell it at a loss. The option in a case like that is to keep the stock instead of selling it in the hopes of at least getting your original investment back. The issue you raise is very complex, and I don’t think I’d advise individual investors to take such a course–there are better ways to get your money back–such as buying more AMD now while it is still relatively cheap and holding it long enough to show a decent profit before selling enough of it to recoup your earlier losses.

    • jdaven
    • 10 years ago

    BTW, I only see one comment from NeelyCam. I thought he would be all over this in support of Intel as the next best thing since the Coming of Christ.

    • WaltC
    • 10 years ago

    Good for the FTC. It’s about time, as every other time in the past when the FTC “looked” at Intel the appropriate palms were suitably greased and Intel walked away squeaky clean. Intel’s been saying it’s been doing everything “lawfully” for so long that you have to wonder at the company’s sanity after getting KO’ed by the EU, getting pummeled by AMD, and now the FTC is preparing the Coup de grace. I think that by “lawful” what Intel means is that it didn’t pull out a gun and rob people on the street–I mean, this *must* be the only thing Intel considers “unlawful,” judging by its comments over the years. It’s really sort of amazing to see the Intel juggernaut being ripped apart at the seams by its own hubris.

    Pretty much the facts are these: if Intel had had its way and AMD had proven weak and spineless like every other past would-be Intel competitor has been–and so has gone—there’d be no AMD today, there’d surely be no Core2/iX, and we’d all be paying $1k per pop for our “lightning fast” 1.xGHz PIII’s…;)

    I can’t be the only one who remembers how hard Intel made it for AMD to launch the original Athlon. For a long while, mobo makers like Asus were afraid to even *advertise* AMD systems because of all of the threats, real and implied, that Intel employees communicated in all kinds of ways to employees of these other companies. I sincerely believe that if these companies hadn’t been as desirous of escaping the Intel yoke as Intel was to run AMD (and any other precocious upstart) out of business, that AMD wouldn’t have made it to first base. Fortunately, AMD had a lot of help in getting to first base–and that’s the *only* reason the cpu business has been as competitive as it has been since 1999. Intel has literally destroyed every other competitor in the x86 cpu business it has ever had.

    As an aside, I made a comment in one of the Intel cpu forums I used to frequent (when I used Intel technology) in the mid ’90’s, that the only way that AMD or any other competitor to Intel had a prayer of success was in being able to leapfrog Intel technologically–ie, to make a far better cpu that would take Intel years to catch.

    As you might imagine, especially inside that particular forum, I was laughed to scorn and lots of people thought my comments among the most ridiculous, and unlikely, notions that they could recall. In 1999 the worm began to turn with Athlon in a big way–and still, even years after the Athlon launch, Intel employees often stated “candidly” in interviews that if Intel had a competitor they were unaware of whom it might be…;) Intel *finally* dropped the “AMD who?” pose years ago, and has quietly and “lawfully” (j/k) been burning the midnight oil to finish off AMD by any means possible–short of robbing the company at gunpoint in the street, that is.

    Knowing this about the FTC now, I’m not surprised at all that Intel finally saw the wisdom in settling with AMD and putting a few cogent gems down on paper as to how it promises to conduct business in the future. It looks like the jig is finally up for Intel and that Intel is finally going to have the FTC spell out in detail what the term “lawful competition” actually means–since Intel has been so incredibly thickheaded about it for so many years. As consumers both corporate and private, I doubt the debt we all owe AMD and all of AMD’s partner companies like Asus, MSI, and you-name-them, is measurable at this point. Good for AMD. And provided the FTC follows through in finally doing its job, good for the FTC. The Intel juggernaut is finally being brought to heel.

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 10 years ago

      I wasn’t interested in buying computer hardware in the pre-Athlon 64 days, but I do specifically remember how much trouble I had finding a name brand computer with an Athlon 64. That’s because I never did find one, and that’s what got me into building computers.

      Not too long after, Intel was charged with anti-competitive behavior in I believe Japan, South Korea, and some other places, and *poof!* Suddenly, you could find computers with AMD CPUs on Best Buy shelves.

      This was towards the end of the Athlon 64’s life, when the X2s were coming out, so I can’t imagine it was due to insufficient supply.

      • flip-mode
      • 10 years ago

      TL;DR

        • Airmantharp
        • 10 years ago

        Wuss.
        It was a good read, even if it is mostly opinion (and yes I’m typing this because just wuss is too short).

          • cygnus1
          • 10 years ago

          Short

      • xzelence
      • 10 years ago

      Good post man. Very good.

      • SPOOFE
      • 10 years ago

      /[

        • WaltC
        • 10 years ago

        That’s fair, we can dispute each other’s assertions, no problem. But I’d ask you to recall the fact that for at least a year after AMD launched Opteron/AMD64, Intel literally ran a PR campaign that went very much like this, if not exactly like this: “You don’t need 64-bits on the desktop.” That’s a fact, not a speculation or assertion. When it became apparent that the market was overwhelmingly opting for “64-bits on the desktop,” as in x86-64, precisely, it was only then that Intel moved ahead with Core2 and of course the iX after that, both of which use AMD’s x86-64 extensions, which AMD granted Intel under the cross-licensing agreement it had with Intel at the time, and in the newer cross-licensing agreement Intel signed when it settled AMD’s suits for $1.25B last month, along with written pledges to do business differently than it had in the past. Those are also facts as opposed to speculations.

        It was clear as a bell to anyone observing at the time that the only 64-bits Intel had in mind for anybody at the time AMD launched Opteron and then the A64 was 64-bits of the Itanium persuasion. Simply put, had AMD folded prior to Opteron/A64 shipping, there would have been absolutely zero motivation for Intel to take 64-bits to the x86 desktop–that was the whole idea behind Intel’s “You don’t need 64-bits on the desktop” PR campaign, after all.

          • tfp
          • 10 years ago

          Considering the number of people running winXP I still wonder how many people need 64bit in the desktop.

          I know that’s not your point but I still don’t see the need for most of the market.

            • NeelyCam
            • 10 years ago

            I fully agree. 32b is fine for most people.

    • DaveJB
    • 10 years ago

    I don’t doubt that AMD has a case, but Intel could probably shoot down their main arguments by pointing out that even if AMD had been selling every single processor they could make, it would have still only resulted in a roughly 70/30 market split in Intel’s favour due to AMD’s more limited production facilities; still technically an Intel monopoly.

    Or failing that, I suppose they could try the Chewbacca Defence. :p

    • PRIME1
    • 10 years ago

    l[

      • HydrogenAlpha
      • 10 years ago

      well said

      +1

      • [TR]
      • 10 years ago

      Damn! I’ve been buying the wrong Intel products all along!

    • BoBzeBuilder
    • 10 years ago

    Can I sue Intel too? Their business practices in the past have hurt my feelings and I need compensation.

      • ClickClick5
      • 10 years ago

      I’ll sign that notion.

      • pogsnet
      • 10 years ago
      • Anonymous Coward
      • 10 years ago

      I bet Intel’s over-aggressive defense of their dominant position has cost me money, both directly in the form of processors I buy but also indirectly in the costs of everything in life… because every company has paid Intel a little more than Intel should have gotten.

      • alphaGulp
      • 10 years ago

      luckily for you (since you don’t seem to be very aware), the government is already doing that for you, and if the FTC levies any fines, those will go to the government’s coffers.

      What does it mean for the govt to get money? For a simple person, the best way to explain it is like this: it goes to pay some of the trillions of $ we owe China. Thanks to that, we can either reduce our taxes or be happy that we have left our kids with less debt than before.

      By the way, aren’t we supposed to leave our children an inheritance, rather than debt and pollution? And this debt? It’s so big that we basically are just making payments on it and then borrowing more on top, each year. It’s like we’re going to hand off out-of-control credit card debt. (Republicans, please don’t start talking about wasteful govt and reducing taxes: how about reducing spending? The Republican party is even _worse_ than the Democrats at cutting spending and pork – if you look at the last 20 years, this is a fact (largely due to the last Bush, evidently))

      P.S.: if there’s one thing I’m tired of seeing in the US, it’s all the completely self-centered people complaining about taxes (these ppl exist elsewhere, but less so). Listen, you greedy little pricks: it’s a really complex world we live in, and if we were to do the things you simpletons suggest, the children of all the poor people out there who get govt help would suffer a _lot_ (and Republicans are supposedly moral, religiously conservative: is that anything like what the bible says we should be doing?), ___OR___ we would go bankrupt as a nation (ie the US dollar would fall to less than 10% of its value and our assets would be super cheap for people with other currencies to acquire, causing commercial devastation world-wide), __OR__ we would have no army or defense-related-research/manufacturing (1/3rd of the US’s annual spending goes to this), __OR__ what?

      OK, so you say I’m going to too far an extreme, that we could reduce taxes by maybe 5%. Well first of all, there are a ton of assholes who don’t pay taxes – and they are proud of it! I remember this one guy boasting about how he made major mullah and yet paid maybe 10% in taxes through all these shenanigans. Anyway, getting back to reducing things by 5-10%: easy to achieve, except for the fact that the govt is completely unable to make any difficult decision: can’t piss off the farmers, or the pharma companies, the elderly, the Jewish lobby, the African-American equivalent, etc. Well, as everyone knows, when you try to make everyone happy, you end up with nobody happy because you are completely paralyzed: it would take a mighty great thinking to come up with a solution that can make all those ppl + US citizens happy.

        • ludi
        • 10 years ago

        Get a blog.

          • NeelyCam
          • 10 years ago

          A brilliant idea.

    • albundy
    • 10 years ago

    dems fightin wurdz! go FTC!

    • anotherengineer
    • 10 years ago

    Keep on rolling snowball, keep on rolling….

    “the FTC expresses a belief that Intel “secretly redesigned key software, known as a compiler, in a way that deliberately stunted the performance of competitors’ CPU chips”

    I guess time will tell if that is true also, if so, what a low blow, maybe making your stuff better would have been the right thing to do instead of hindering others stuff

    Hopefully something good comes from all this in the end.

    • cRock
    • 10 years ago

    The funny thing is that when Intel buys Nvidia, the government is going to roll over and let it happen. Feel that burning? It’s the irony.

      • NeelyCam
      • 10 years ago

      Whoop-ass is easier to employ from the inside.

      • WaltC
      • 10 years ago

      I can’t imagine Intel doing anything with nVidia except ruining it, and I can’t imagine that JHH would want to sell to Intel. I can, however, imagine JHH being willing to take a lot of Intel’s money inside of a “partnership” with Intel on this or that venture–any venture aside from one that would hand over the reigns of his company to Intel. Intel’s thrown billions of dollars away in the past to dram makers (remember rdram?) and other companies, to pursue bids that failed completely, but left Intel’s ex-partners very well off, indeed. I see no reason why JHH might ever turn down some of that–it all depends on the strings Intel attaches. But sell out to Intel at this stage of the game? Not a chance–nVidia is far from finished–and JHH knows all too well that any company that would waste so much time, money and PR on “Larrabee” would not know what to do with nVidia.

    • indeego
    • 10 years ago

    Great, right when I’m building new images for some laptops, also. Intel’s site has been flaky last 20 minutesg{<.<}g 🙁

    • Buzzard44
    • 10 years ago

    What exactly is wrong with exclusive deals, bundled prices, and making your own software again? Yes, I can see threats as clearly illegal, but all this other stuff everybody is throwing at Intel, while it may hamper competition, seems to me to be standard capitalism. Seems to me like you can write your software however you want it to be written, and price your products however you want to price them. Plenty of companies and industries have exclusive deals and bundled prices.

    And no, I’m not a fanboi, I typically buy AMD due to the awesome performance/price.

    Yes, I’m being completely serious, but,

    wats rong with the ftc and eu?

      • designerfx
      • 10 years ago

      it’s not capitalism to make exclusive deals, actually. Where do you come up with such a logic?

      capitalism is about being competitive. Purely.

      That is nothing about deliberately trying to squash your competitor. The reason is simple: capitalism strives on competition, and getting rid of it actually hampers your own growth. Competition itself literally creates business. Some companies just don’t realize that.

      Easy example there: even MS, if they were to stop trying to squash their competitors, would see better business. How, you ask? If windows was GPLv3’d, everyone on the planet would use it. There would be no reason to use any flavor of linux at that point. hello 100% monopoly and not being sued for it.

        • djgandy
        • 10 years ago

        Oh GPL3,

        So how many companies bring in over $1B from GPL?

        Who’s going to pay the engineers? Open source has a lot to learn and is not the holy grail it’s made out to be especially when it comes to standardisation.

        If everything was purely open source every manufacturer would have their own platform the way they want it and we’d end up with rubbish interoperability and higher prices because of cost of producing all these lower volume products.

        “Free” is relative.

        Unless everything is free, what you are getting is probably not free.

      • Hattig
      • 10 years ago

      “What exactly is wrong with exclusive deals, bundled prices, and making your own software again?”

      Nothing. Until you are deemed to be a monopoly.

      Remember that Intel paid billions out in enticements to OEMs to not use AMD products, especially back in the Pentium 4 days. That certainly harmed consumers!

      Now NVIDIA have raised issues, certainly Intel’s Atom bundling pricing is very odd.

        • djgandy
        • 10 years ago

        I hope you don’t ever buy anything that’s on offer in a shop.

        Welcome to business.

        You can buy 10,000 CPU’s from Intel, and they’ll do you a good break on the chipsets.

        This is real basic concept that even people who have fruit & veg stalls will employ.

        What are we going to do, ban giving customers a good deal?

          • ludi
          • 10 years ago

          Like it or lump it, US trade law has evolved to recognize that business operators with monopoly or near-monopoly have power over the market that a smaller competitor does not. Selling a 10k lot of something at a per-unit discount compared to a 5k lot is not an objectionable business practice on its own merits. Selling something at a discount price in exchange for a vendor exclusivitiy agreement is also not an objectionable business practice on its own merits. Apple is a great example of this. You can’t buy a lot of variety from Apple. But since Apple only has a fraction of the PC market, you can always buy something functionally equivalent from a different vendor. Therefore, no harm, no foul.

          Where it becomes a problem, particularly in an industry like advanced semiconductors where there are high barriers to entry, is when one of the vendors is large enough to actually shut out competitors from the marketplace by engaging in such practices. Yeah, you still get a great deal this year from playing ball with the big guy. What about next year, when you discover that the big guy now owns the entire park and has tripled the prices at the concession stands?

    • Cyril
    • 10 years ago

    Updated post with statement from Intel.

    • djgandy
    • 10 years ago

    “In its announcement, the FTC expresses a belief that Intel “secretly redesigned key software, known as a compiler”

    Oh wow. And what compiler was that? Oh yeah Intel’s compiler. Are you forced to use it…No.

    Also I’m sure it’s been shown before that AMD processors show a speedup when using Intel’s compiler too, just Intels speedup is much higher.

    At the end of the day the compiler is just as important as the chip. They might not be the same physical package, but it does not remove their dependency.

    What are we going to do? Outlaw good software?

      • Game_boy
      • 10 years ago

      Really? Which of those? Because I thought all of them were illegal.

        • SPOOFE
        • 10 years ago

        Illegal to make a compiler to run programs on your hardware? Please cite that law. I’m curious to see the text.

          • Game_boy
          • 10 years ago

          Sorry, wasn’t in reply to you. I meant all of the points in the FTC’s order.

          • shank15217
          • 10 years ago

          If you make a x86 compiler that speeds up x86 code on your machine, its totally fine. Its not fine to deliberately turn those optimizations off on your competitor’s chip. Intel and AMD have a cross licensing agreement that allows both to create x86 and x86-64 chips. x86 is the standard, not the cpu id string.

            • NeelyCam
            • 10 years ago

            It’s not Intel’s job to make sure all the Intel-specific optimizations are fully validated and tested on all other competitors’ CPUs

            Intel has every right to choose to reduce the risk of unvalidated (competitor’s) CPU features breaking the compiled code by turning off Intel-specific optimizations unless a fully validated, certified CPU is present. It’s Intel-built compiler, after all, and users would be complaining if the compiled code is broken.

            The situation would be different if Intel’s compiler would specifically look for an AMD CPU and then turn off Intel-optimized features, while leaving them on for, say, VIA CPUs.

            If AMD has a beef with this, by all means write your own compiler. There is nothing wrong with what Intel has done here: using speed-optimized code only with a CPU that’s validated to fully work with it if perfectly fine.

      • slaimus
      • 10 years ago

      The problem is that Intel got (paid?) the common benchmark makers to use their compiler. Remember that whole BAPCo controversy?

        • Flying Fox
        • 10 years ago

        Intel compiler itself is actually pretty good. However, for certain optimizations, they may include code that checks for Intel processors before running the code path that is more optimized for their extensions (SSE in particular). I remember that was exactly what happened to the QMD WUs in Folding.

        As mentioned above, a lot of times even running code generated by Intel compiler is faster on AMD hardware, but there are times where Intel does not make the most optimized to run on non-Intel CPUs.

    • PRIME1
    • 10 years ago

    l[<"tentatively scheduled" to hear FTC's case at 10 AM... on September 15, 2010<]l The swift hand of justice is upon thee!

      • 5150
      • 10 years ago

      Better stock up people, Intel is going bankrupt!

    • Game_boy
    • 10 years ago

    Intel shouldn’t be doing /[

      • designerfx
      • 10 years ago

      what’s your point, I’m confused?

        • Game_boy
        • 10 years ago

        If the law right now says “X isn’t allowed”, and that applies to all companies.
        And the new FTC order says “Intel must not do X”.
        Then what’s changed?

          • designerfx
          • 10 years ago

          maybe they’re saying intel hasn’t been following X? anyway, they can do whatever they want until a judge decides.

          • d2brothe
          • 10 years ago

          Except that there is no law that says you cannot do X in most of those cases.

            • bdwilcox
            • 10 years ago

            Which is exactly Intel’s point. Though I’m no fan of Intel’s business practices, or “business abuses” in many case, their point is dead-on; most of these accusations of so called “abusive business practices” are legally baseless, ex-post-facto “crimes”.

            Intel sees the writing on the wall here, though. We have a current administration that wants to regulate the minutiae of every market and it’s throwing stuff against the wall hoping something sticks in order to intimidate Intel into kow-towing to their future demands. This is the worst possible way to do things; it amounts to thuggery and extortion. But the administration knows that doing things the right way, i.e. by passing Constitutional laws approved by Congress, won’t stick. So they resort to thuggery.

            I’d like to see Intel reined in a bit, but not this way. This is clearly wrong.

            • Game_boy
            • 10 years ago

            You seem to be anti-regulation on principle, rather than stating how exactly, if those things became law, that consumers would be harmed or the economy would be less efficient.

            When the unregulated free market isn’t cutting costs or is removing consumers’ rights and choice of better products [by sidelining AMD with those business practices], shouldn’t that be fixed?

            • MadManOriginal
            • 10 years ago

            I’d wager that the payment of OEMs to not use AMD products is one of the business practices of which he’s not a fan. But other things like bundling and writing software that works well on your hardware aren’t illegal.

            • bdwilcox
            • 10 years ago

            The point here isn’t about regulation. It’s about the government using intimidation instead of legal regulation. And it’s about government bullying companies by making defamatory, ex-post-facto accusations about their past business practices even though those practices weren’t illegal at the time. Ultimately, it’s about side-stepping the legal, Constitutional process with what amounts to “either your signature or your brains will be on that paper” kind of negotiations that this administration is, and has been, willing to use (e.g. Wells Fargo, et. al.)
            See the last paragraph in this posting: /[<"Intel also sent us a comment from Senior VP and General Counsel Doug Melamed, who notes that Intel attempted to settle the case with the FTC. The agency purportedly made that impossible, however: "Settlement talks had progressed very far but stalled when _[

            • Anonymous Coward
            • 10 years ago

            Do you take the words of some Intel lawyer as an unbiased account of reality?

            • bdwilcox
            • 10 years ago

            /[

            • Anonymous Coward
            • 10 years ago

            Let me be the first to tell you that Intel is not going to be unbiased in a legal case against them. Also the fact they choose to fight it can not be taken as proof of their innocence.

            • MadManOriginal
            • 10 years ago

            And yet their settlement with AMD is taken as proof of their guilt. Hmm…

            • NeelyCam
            • 10 years ago

            Pointing inconsistencies is a technique shown to be ineffective against fanbois.

            • deathBOB
            • 10 years ago

            They settled with AMD and they were willing to settle with the FTC. I foresee a well deserved world of hurt for Intel.

            Edit: That was not supposed to be a reply to #27

            • bdwilcox
            • 10 years ago

            If a federal regulatory agency comes knocking, you’d be insane not to settle with them. Ever hear the phrase, “You can’t fight city hall?” Federal agencies, especially on the leash of bullying administrations, can give you a world of hurt on many fronts.

            As far as AMD goes, Intel got off cheap, especially considering how much they saved in legal fees. I wouldn’t regard that as an indicator that Intel thought they’d lose in court or be found guilty of any crimes.

            • OneArmedScissor
            • 10 years ago

            If $1.25 billion is cheap, and they didn’t think they’d lose, but you can’t fight city hall…then why did they just hand that over, AFTER they stated they would be fighting the European Commission’s $1.44 billion fine?

            None of those things add up. They only “got off cheap” because of the snowball effect that would have occurred if they were fined left and right for stifling competition throughout the world, and THEN lost in court to AMD.

            • bdwilcox
            • 10 years ago

            Fighting the EU is A LOT different from fighting US regulatory agencies which are both A LOT different than fighting a lawsuit. They all have their nuances and repercussions that Intel’s counsel weighed and made recommendations on.

            Trust me, the AMD settlement was small potatoes compared to protracted litigation. And if they got a rogue jury or judge who threw them under the bus because of unethical behavior rather than illegal behavior (which happens all the time – “you violated the spirit of the law but not the law itself but we’re going to make you pay anyway” kind of mindset) it would set a precedent for innumerable lawsuits from other competitors extant or extinct.

            • NeelyCam
            • 10 years ago

            ^ This. +2

      • thecoldanddarkone
      • 10 years ago

      Uhh, intel should be allowed bundled prices, almost every company in the world allows some type of bundle. Does it hurt compitition, I suppose, should basic bundling be illegal, No.

      Processor+chipset 35 dollars
      Processor 25 dollars
      Chipset 12 dollars

      Saved 2 dollars

      This complaint is dumb
      In addition, allegedly, Intel secretly redesigned key software, known as a compiler, in a way that deliberately stunted the performance of competitors’ CPU chips. Intel told its customers and the public that software performed better on Intel CPUs than on competitors’ CPUs, but the company deceived them by failing to disclose that these differences were due largely or entirely to Intel’s compiler design.

      It’s their compiler, no one is required to use it, and it’s not unusual for amd to also get a boost in performance with Intels compiler.

        • Hattig
        • 10 years ago

        Except the bundled price on an Atom chipset is around -$30.

        I.e., the bundled price is far lower than the CPU alone.

        Clearly targetted at excluding other chipset manufacturers.

        Of course bringing the chipset on-die solves this for Intel, and it will make the entire problem pointless by the time the case is resolved.

          • MadManOriginal
          • 10 years ago

          I’d actually be interested to see the bundle and separate actual prices from someone other than Huang who does some ‘funny math’ to get his numbers. A vendor or PC maker would be best. He does something wierd like take the separate CPU price and the separate chipset price, then compares the separate CPU price to the bundled CPU+chipset price after subtracting the full price of the chipset first. In other words, he assumes that all of the discount is in the CPU and that the chipset should be counted at full price all the time.

            • cygnus1
            • 10 years ago

            It doesn’t matter where the discount is applied. If the cost of the bundle is less than the cost of the CPU alone, they are paying people to take the chipset. Some see that as wrong. But it’s a perfectly valid business tactic, if you can afford it; and Intel clearly can.

            Now the question should be, is the only reason Intel can do that it’s monopoly position. If that’s the case, then they are abusing their monopoly and need to be regulated.

            There’s nothing wrong with a monopoly, some markets only work that way. What is wrong is abuse of monopoly power.

        • OneArmedScissor
        • 10 years ago

        It’s just /[

          • thecoldanddarkone
          • 10 years ago

          I can’t find any actual reliable information, I’m aware of what a person said.

        • Bauxite
        • 10 years ago

        Competitor superior chipset/gpu/whatever: $25

        Intel cpu: $30
        Intel chipset/inferior whatever: $30

        Intel cpu+chipset but you must agree to use both and account for it (e.g. rebates or other corporate bs): $25

        This is atom right now, numbers off but principle is the same.

          • MadManOriginal
          • 10 years ago

          Yes, examples are great but what’s the source? All the numbers I’ve seen are ones that Huang comes up with that put 100% of the bundle discount on the CPU.

      • ludi
      • 10 years ago

      That’s not really how a lot of federal regulatory law works in business and finance. Much of it is willfully vague in hopes of catching not only existing objectionable practices, but also future objectionable practices. Unfortunately, that gives an agency like the FTC an abusable scope of discretion, and leaves a lot of doubt as to where the line really is (or if there is even a line at all). That ultimately increases the cost of doing business across the board, which then gets passed on to you.

    • danieldasilva
    • 10 years ago

    I know this lame, but I couldn’t resist it…

    What’s wrong with Intel?

      • NeelyCam
      • 10 years ago

      BURN THE TROLL!!! BURN IT!

        • h4x0rpenguin
        • 10 years ago

        WITH FIRE! BURN IT WITH FIRE!

          • wira020
          • 10 years ago

          What else could be used to burn? Water?

            • sledgehammer
            • 10 years ago

            …..acid,… burn him with acid

            • SHOES
            • 10 years ago

            I say we submerge him in LN2 and preserve his Trollish remains, we can then display his lifeless heap in a “troll” museum.

            • anotherengineer
            • 10 years ago

            freezer burn lol

            • h4x0rpenguin
            • 10 years ago

            I was just scared that he’d forget the fire in all his excitement. And trolls are immune to all o’ those other stuff (acid, ice, etc).

            And to #1, you have to write it in trollish: “wahts rong wit intel”.

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