Does Any of This Help AMD?

By Scott Ferguson  |  Posted 2008-02-13 Print this article Print

"As is our normal practice, we are cooperating with the investigators," Intel spokesperson Chuck Mulloy wrote in a Feb. 13 e-mail to eWEEK. "As you probably know, investigations of this nature are confidential so we can't go into details."

Intel has noted in the past that these types of investigations "mirror" the complaints outlined in AMD's lawsuits, with the implication being that AMD is more active in pushing these agencies than it admits.

Still, the actions in Europe and elsewhere appear to have forced Intel to change its thinking and practices. For example, Intel disputed the charges in Japan, but agreed to change some of its practices. John Spooner, an analyst with Technology Business Research, said the ongoing investigations have forced the chip giant to change some of its practices to avoid additional scrutiny in the future.

"You'd have to expect Intel to be a little more careful, especially when you see what these guys are objecting to," Spooner said. "I think what all these different investigations will do is force Intel to look at its rebate policy and look at how it needs to restructure its sales deals in the long run."

Even if Intel changes its practices, it's not clear that will help AMD gain market share when it comes to x86 processors. Spooner said AMD gained market share when it produced chips that competed with Intel in terms of price and performance. When AMD has not delivered, such as the case with its quad-core processors for servers and desktops, it has lost share to Intel.

The question for Intel now is whether these actions will convince the U.S. Department of Justice or the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Intel's market practices. The raids in Germany also raise questions of whether the EC is looking for additional evidence to bolster the case it will present in March.

The next hearings by the EC about Intel are scheduled for March 11.


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