July 17, 2006 7:15 AM PDT

AMD fires another antitrust salvo at Intel

Advanced Micro Devices is stepping up the pressure on Intel over alleged anticompetitive practices by filing another complaint, this time with German authorities.

The latest complaint was filed last week with Germany's Federal Cartel Office, or Bundeskartellamt. In it, AMD claims that Intel made deals with German retailers that violate the country's competition laws.

The complaint was prompted by a report in the German edition of the Financial Times claiming that the Media Markt retail electronics chain had agreed to only sell computers that used Intel's processors in return for a payment from the chipmaker.

"AMD had already received similar information, so we decided to file a formal complaint with the Federal Cartel Office," AMD spokeswoman Hollis Krym explained.

A representative for the German Federal Cartel Office confirmed that a complaint had been received from "a competitor of Intel." It is now liaising with the European Commission, which is conducting its own investigation into Intel.

"We're checking with colleagues in Brussels to see whether they will take this complaint on as well," the Federal Cartel Office representative explained.

In June 2005, AMD filed a lawsuit against Intel, claiming that it had forced major customers to accept exclusive deals, and had withheld rebates and marketing subsidies from customers who bought more AMD processors than Intel had allowed.

The next month, European Commission officials raided Intel's offices in Swindon, England, as well as the offices of several PC retailers, including Dell.

Graeme Wearden of ZDNet UK reported from London.

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15 comments

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Make Chips, not Lawsuits
It is silly, and unproductive for a competitor to sue, or file
complaints over practices that one is not alien to. If a retailer, or
consumer was unhappy, then the suit would actually make sense.

AMD is losing its way really fast. But then, again, it is all a sign of
our times ... it don't look good right now.
Posted by Thomas, David (1947 comments )
Reply Link Flag
These lawsuits are warranted
I was working at Best Buy in the computer department back in the late 90's when AMD released the successor to their mildly successful K6-2 processors, codenamed K-7 and later named Athlon. The processors were released, but we saw no computers utilizing them and no motherboards available for them, despite the fact that benchmarks were showing an overwhemling performance gap over anything Intel had out at the time, or that the Athlon chips were less expensive.

The word from our vendors (Toshiba specifically) was that Intel was telling EVERYONE that if they supported AMD's new processor, that Intel would not supply them any of their own processors. This was at a time when Intel had something like 80%+ marketshare. It turns out that companies like Asus finally started releasing motherboards, but sold them out of white boxes, with no name branding whatsoever, to try to avoid Intel's wrath.

As a retailer, Best Buy was hurt by Intel's actions because they were unable to offer customers an available, less expensive, superior technology, as Intel had stifled the competition. I remember that Intel hadn't released anything faster than their Pentium III 500MHz part for almost a year. They didn't have to; they had their market under wraps and could (and did) charge whatever they wanted. THEY TOOK ADVANTAGE OF THEIR DOMINANT POSITION IN THE MARKETPLACE ILLEGALY.

As a consumer, I was hurt because I wanted to build a computer using AMD's much faster and cheaper processor but couldn't. Once AMD's parts became available, I swore off of Intel and have been building and buying AMD ever since.

AMD has every right to sue the pants off of Intel for this. I'm only wondering why they haven't done it sooner.
Posted by dorianh49 (24 comments )
Link Flag
It is immoral...
...(and usually illegal) for any business to intefere between another business and their customers. If they can't compete based on the price and/or value of their products, they should get the hell out of the business.

These anti-trust laws are there for a reason. If they are being violated, they need to be enforced. Intel would not hesitate a second if the situation were reversed.

This is the dark side of capitalism and one reason why it gets such a bad rap. It needs to stop.
Posted by freemarket--2008 (5058 comments )
Link Flag
Well...Intel is as good as guilty...
..But why not sue "Media Markt"
Posted by PCCRomeo (432 comments )
Reply Link Flag
waahh!
So, go to the retailer and beat their deal.

I guess if you can't beat them on price and performance, then you can beat them with lawsuits.

waahh!!
Cry like a little baby.
Posted by johnericanderson (72 comments )
Reply Link Flag
That is the problem
AMD does beat them on price and performance. Intel stays on top through illegal business practices.
Posted by qwerty75 (1164 comments )
Link Flag
The timing is amusing...
Notice how AMD didn't do this until the Dual Core CPUs came out and knocked AMD off the top mark?

What a bunch of whiners.
Posted by thenet411 (415 comments )
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Lawsuits started last year
If you look at the right-hand next to the story, you'll see in the related stories section that AMD first filed these lawsuits in June of last year. As far as I know, AMD had proven that their fastest processors were superior to Intel's fastest at that time. AMD was also poised to overtake Intel's retail marketshare for the first time EVER.

Nothing wrong with AMD's timing.
Posted by dorianh49 (24 comments )
Link Flag
Competition is good!!!
Good for AMD, competition is good! WE ALL NEED this! As an aside, I saw some interesting banter the last couple of months concerning AMD on stockenstein.com - those editors over there have some strong opinions. Thank god I got out of AMD at the start of this year eh? Cheers all!
Posted by stockBeemer (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Forget the law suit . . .
I say criminal charges! Intel should be indicted for stealing a page
from the MicrSoft playbook! <wink>
Posted by K.P.C. (227 comments )
Reply Link Flag
AMD distraction
Its ironic that AMD is always complaining. Are they an Estate Agency? They remind me of GWB who cleverly distracts the American public from the real issues. In AMDs case, they dont want gold digging investors to realize that their roadmap came from a milk bar (convenience store).

AMD, stop acting like a big baby and make chips. We all know that anything goes in the third world and you are not an angel either. For corporate reasons, Im sure that you hide your septic tank.
Posted by domino360 (41 comments )
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