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EU releases damming Intel antitrust emails

by on25 September 2009


Kick them while they're down

The EU
might not be one of the most exciting institutions around, but from time to time they do tend to dabble in some juicy, gutter tabloid stuff.

After Intel launched a massive PR campaign to publicize its appeal against the European Commission's record €1.06 fine, Eurocrats responded by releasing some spicy details of the case, including internal Intel emails.

HP was one of the companies to rat on Intel. It confirmed that Intel required HP to by at least 95 percent of its business desktop platforms from Intel. In a 2002 email, an HP exec wrote: "PLEASE DO NOT... communicate to the regions, your team members or AMD that we are constrained to 5 percent AMD by pursuing the Intel agreement." To make matters worse, an internal HP presentation from 2002 clearly shows that the Athlon desktop CPU superior to Intel's products at the time. HP said that it “had a unique architecture” and was “more efficient on many tasks”.

In a Dell email to Intel, a Dell exec said: "AMD is a great threat to our business. Intel is increasingly uncompetitive to AMD which results in Dell being uncompetitive to [Dell competitors]. We have slower, hotter products that cost more across the board in the enterprise with no hope of closing the performance gap for 1-2 years." However, in February 2004 a Dell executive warned his colleagues that buying AMD processors could have dire consequences for Dell, and that Intel executive were, “prepared for [all-out war]” if Dell “joins the AMD exodus”.

Acer also received payments from Intel to postpone the launch of an AMD-based notebook in 2003. An Intel executive commented the matter: “Good news just came from [an Acer Senior Executive] that Acer [has] decide[d] to drop AMD K8 [a notebook product] throughout 2003 around the world.”

Intel also convinced Lenovo to postpone the launch of its AMD-based notebooks in 2006.

Clearly, Intel was very, very naughty child a few years back, but ultimately, it paid a huge price for its uncompetitive practices. However, it obviously managed to keep AMD from getting a significant number of design wins and more market share through some of the biggest PC makers on the planet. Back then, AMD truly did have superior products, especially in the server and desktop market, and the true cost of Intel's campaign to AMD's bottom line in the long term will probably never be clear.
Last modified on 25 September 2009
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