Intel anti-competition tactics revealed in exec emails

Sep 21, 2009
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Thanks to Intel's appeal, it looks as though the anti-competition case in which the chipmaker is accused of illegally attempting to block AMD business won't be settled any time soon.  To better illustrate just why they fined Intel a record $1.45bn, the European Commission have released a 500 page report [pdf link] complete with emails where big-name PC manufacturers discuss threats of withdrawn rebates should they adopt some of AMD's chips.

Excepts after the cut

"[Intel senior executives] are prepared for [all-out war] if Dell joins the AMD exodus. We get ZERO MCP for at least one quarter while Intel ‘investigates the details’ (…) We’ll also have to bite and scratch to even hold 50%, including a commitment to NOT ship in Corporate. If we go in Opti [Optiplex corporate desktop line], they cut it to <20% and use the added MCP to compete against us" Unnamed Dell executive, email, February 26th 2004

Dell, Lenovo and Acer executive correspondence is all quoted by the commission.  In their emails, the employees refer to "special deals" with Intel, as well as more obvious threats such as the chip-maker warning that a firm could lose up to 100-percent of their marketing funds should they adopt AMD processors in even a very small minority of machines.

"[Acer Senior Executive]] indicated to me that Acer participation was compromised by the extremely specific request from Intel to avoid any public support to AMD64 and Athlon 64 [chip]. He volunteered to tell me that this is the first time he has ever seen [Intel Senior Executive] PERSONALLY intervene in such a matter (…). The threat to Acer was described to me as not completely defined yet but could be as drastic as 100% suppression of their Intel marketing funds. [Acer Senior Executive] indicated that with 85% of their business coming from Intel, the damage to Acer would be significant" AMD executive's report on a meeting with AMD executive, September 9th 2003

Intel maintains that it has done nothing wrong, and that the commission has underestimated "reality of a highly competitive microprocessor marketplace – characterized by constant innovation, improved product performance and lower prices."  However it has already absorbed the fine into its Q2 2009 financial figures.

[via Wall Street Journal]


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