David sues Goliath

Well it’s official: AMD has filed a Federal antitrust lawsuit against Intel in US District court. I’ve had anecdotal evidence of Intel’s anticompetitive behavior for years, but this complaint contains a whole bunch of new details. Here’s one gem of a quote:

In 2002, when AMD set out to earn a place in HP’s commercial desktop product roadmap, HP demanded a $25 million quarterly fund to compensate it for Intel’s expected retaliation. Eager to break into the commercial market, and to earn a place in HP’s successful “Evo” product line, AMD agreed instead to provide HP with the first million microprocessors for free in an effort to overcome Intel’s financial hold over HP. On the eve of the launch, HP disclosed its plan to Intel, which told HP it considered AMD’s entry into HP’s commercial line a “Richter 10” event. It immediately pressured HP into (1) withdrawing the AMD offering from its premier “Evo” brand and (2) withholding the AMD-powered computer from HP’s network of independent value-added resellers, the HP’s principal point of access to small business users for whom the computer was designed in the first place. Intel went so far as to pressure HP’s senior management to consider firing the HP executive who spearheaded the AMD commercial desktop proposal. As a result of Intel’s coercion, the HP-AMD desktop offering was dead on arrival. HP ended up taking only 160,000 of the million microprocessors AMD offered for free. As of today, HP’s AMD-equipped commercial desktops remain channel-restricted, and AMD’s share of this business remains insignificant.

Woah.

If anyone’s interested, the complaint is quite readable and pretty interesting. Highly recommended.

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