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Avoid Intel Products. They Are Abusive Monopolists.

This is a statement which I have made many times before, but it is worth repeating in this blog along with some evidence. Here is what AMD’s chief had to say quite recently about his legal battles against Intel.

Appended below (no particular order) are some bit of news I have been collecting. They should hopefully reveal Intel’s malicious and predatory behavior in the market. Some of the hyperlinks have expired, but the fragments of text are equally important.

Intel: South Korean Antitrust Probe Over

South Korean media have reported the inquiry has centered on allegations Intel abused its market dominance by pressuring computer makers to avoid using chips made by Intel’s rivals.

Intel to Reply Soon to Antitrust Queries

It is not common for the Federal Trade Commission, which issued a second request for information to Intel last week, to ask for more information on such mergers.

US antitrust group urges Intel investigation

The American Antitrust Institute (AAI), a Washington DC lobby group, has written an open letter to the Federal Trade Commission urging an investigation of Intel’s allegedly monopolistic business practices.

[...]

AAI say its insistence of an investigation is based on allegations by AMD in a private case and information obtained by the EC’s complaint, which have not been made public

The Fight for Fair and Open Competition

AMD is an undisputed technology and innovation leader.

However, Intel’s abusive, illegal monopolistic behavior is preventing businesses and consumers alike from choosing freely between AMD and Intel products.

EC says Intel influenced bids for computer projects

The third type of allegation, however, was new, and sounded like a variety of predatory pricing. “In the context of bids against AMD-based products for strategic customers in the server segment of the market,” the commission press release said, “Intel has offered CPUs on average below cost.”

Negroponte says Intel should be “ashamed of itself”

He is furious that Intel’s CEO Craig Barrett called the One Laptop a gadget. The Negroponte initiative is caught in the middle of a vicious fight between AMD and Intel, he said.

AMD chief condemns Intel ‘abuses’

In 2005, after the Japan Fair Trade Commission found Intel guilty of offering illegal rebates to Japanese PC makers, AMD filed an anti-trust suit against its competitor in the U.S. District Court in Delaware. The case has not been decided.

AMD: Intel Destroyed Evidence in Antitrust Case

In an unpublished statement to the U.S. District Court of Delaware, AMD alleges Intel allowed the destruction of evidence in pending antitrust litigation.

Investors sue Dell on payments from Intel: WSJ

An investor lawsuit seeking class-action status accuses Dell Inc. of improper accounting in its relationship with chip giant Intel, according to a media report published Thursday evening.

[...]

The suit alleges that Dell received at times as much as $1 billion a year in “secret and likely illegal” kickbacks in the form of “e-Cap” or “exception to corporate average pricing” payments” from Intel to ensure that Dell used no other chip supplier, according to The Journal.

Lenovo got financial help from Intel, claim

Journalists on the title said Lenovo is being paid a “pretty penny” from Intel to use its chips.

Intel’s anti-trust memos started vanishing from the top

Chairman Craig Barrett, CEO Paul Otellini and sales chief Sean Maloney have appeared on a list of Intel employees thought to have deleted e-mails possibly relevant to AMD’s anti-trust lawsuit against its larger rival. The missing e-mails have thrust a livid state of mind onto AMD’s lawyers who have very serious problems with Intel’s rather lax document retention policy.

[...]

CEO Otellini appears to have been one of these troublesome employees.

Watch how Intel messes about with the Government.

FTC won’t step up Intel antitrust probe

Intel, the world’s biggest maker of computer chips, has been cited for anti-competitive behavior for allegedly offering large discounts to computer makers in exchange for their not using products from AMD, the paper said.

Those faulting Intel include regulators with the European Commission and Korea, the Times said. Japanese officials also made similar accusations in 2005, it said. Intel controls some 80 percent to 90 percent of the microchip market, it said.

Business Group Spent $140,000 Lobbying

The group’s members include Intel Corp., Exxon Mobil Corp. and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.

Intel Hires Lobbying Firm

Computer chip maker Intel Corp. has hired FBA Inc. to lobby the federal government, according to a federal disclosure form.

S. Korea sends Intel antitrust statement-company

South Korea began investigating Intel’s marketing and rebate practices for computer processors two years ago after similar probes by Japan and the European Union.

Korean antitrust probe of Intel ends, penalties to be decided soon

Although neither Intel nor the KFTC provided details on the findings, sources told the Korea Times said that the antitrust regulators did plan to impose penalties on the chipmaker. “The FTC gained some evidence backing up suspicions that Intel has offered discounts to computer makers in exchange for sealing exclusive deals, and coerced dealers not to buy products from rivals such as Advanced Micro Devices (AMD),” said one source.

I vow to keep my eye on Intel’s abuses because they make the world an uglier and imperialistic place. I say this despite the fact that my brother-in-law works for Intel, so there’s no prejudice here.

Google PC – OK, Not It’s Not a Rumour Anymore (Corrected)

Google on a computer screen

I wrote about Google PC about 2 years ago. It was speculative, but based on rumours. As you may have heard by now, Google began selling a software stack based on Linux (Enlightenment and Ubuntu, if I recall correctly).

Several thoughts come to mind. I’m not sure how I feel about this, but let’s think about this for a moment.

Google has recently introduced both gPhone and gPC. These are essentially like Google stacks. Can you see where it’s going? Google is becoming a software developer that integrates things with Web services. It’s contracting OEMs to use its stack, just like Microsoft, which does this with Windows and other applications that it bundles or sells separately.

The reason for concern here is the pushing aside of smaller businesses in the process. Along with Wal-mart, Verizon and HTC, Google will make an alliance of giants. The small players will struggle to compete.

On the very positive side, now we know that unsubstantiated patent FUD will have another willing member fighting it along with Oracle, IBM, Red Hat (not Novell). Google joined OIN a few months ago and it now sells Linux stacks for phones and PCs. Well done, Google. Just keep humble and “do not evil.”

Well, at least it runs Linux…

Correction (03/11/2007): gPC has nothing to do with Google (apart from the toolbar), do it’s not truly a Google PC.

Do Not Buy Intel’s Publicity Stunt

The press is abuzz. Intel has just joined the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) board.

As someone who has followed the developments on this topic and watched these stories extremely closely for over a year, I can assure you that Intel only does this because of guilt.

There is also the bad image it has earned itself and the ability to capitalise at AMD’s expense. Do not think for a second that they wanted to help the children. It’s Nick and the volunteers from Red Hat and outside Red Hat that truly have passion. To them, it is altruism. To Intel, it’s about keeping a monopoly strong.

Intel sabotaged, FUD-ed, and ridiculed OLPC. It did this in a very, very nasty way. Microsoft is a friend of Paul O. and it shows. When they failed to intercept OLPC, they started “dumping” a different type of laptops to hurt OLPC further. Suddenly they embraced the very same type of idea that they said was insane. This, along with documents, did the trick. OLPC lost momentum.

OLPC is not a healthy shape now, so the volunteers are willing to fall into the arms of a monopoly abuser.

It’s a sad story. It’s disgusting.

Time for Distro Shuffle

ONE of my hard drives died a horrible death yesterday. I am lucky to be able to even boot sporadically. It’s a physical error (it even makes funny noises). At the moment, I just use another PC of mine. Tomorrow I shall buy a new hard-drive and install a new GNU/Linux distribution. I was at first leaning towards PCLinuxOS 2007, but getting the ISO and burning it might take a little while. Ubuntu is almost a ‘default’ option nowadays. I used Ubuntu on 2 of my workstations in the past, but I prefer to go with a distribution that is KDE-oriented out of the box.

It seems like there is a busy weekend ahead. There are a lot of scripts and customisations running on my main box and they will need to be restored and tested. The experience will hopefully be a very educational one, but it will also mean not being involved in some of the forums and site which I routine participate in. Any ‘change in agenda’ (as in “unexpected event”) can be a fun one nonetheless. The next such thing will probably be my sister’s wedding in October.

Ubuntu Linux

My machine at an older office. It
ran Ubuntu Linux (see daily photolog)

Dell Recalls Millions of Dangerous Laptop Batteries

Laptop

It has been very hard to ignore pictures of flaming laptops. Problems as such have not only affected Dell, which is now recalling millions of batteries.. If you own a Dell laptop, consider this an important announcement.

Dell Inc.’s record-setting recall of 4.1 million notebook computer batteries raised safety concerns about the power source of countless electronic devices, but experts said the problem appears to stem from flaws in the production of the laptop batteries, not the underlying technology.

Apple has begun similar a initiative, wherein it collects batteries (quick replacements to be shipped). Additionally, in the United States, an agency has begun reviewing all of Sony’s laptop batteries. Dell partly blames Sony for its battery woes. Sony is responsible for one component of the batteries which Dell stocks.

Downtime, Heat Waves, and Windows XP

Server room

SO, there I am at work again. By all means it’s an ordinary day, but the unusual heat makes me want to stay inside where it’s air conditioned. Just a minute ago I saw a follow Ph.D. student slamming his mouse and keyboard. I could see an empty Windows XP desktop, so I can only imagine that it froze on him (possibly after an important overnight experiment). That’s just something, isn’t it? No access to the results and a whole night gone in vain. I’d offer him Linux (it’s already installed on his secondary partition), but I don’t want to risk alienation or become his ‘support guy’.

My computer was running from April to July (SuSE Linux 8.1) without a single reboot, but we had three outages recently. These were due to the heat wave that evidently affects London datacentres, as well as California (notably the half-day MySpace downtime). I even heard about Utah too last week… downtime reported in news:alt.www.webmaster. I then found a news release and reproted it to Walt as a possible proof that the Web host was not lying. I guess we must all have to cope with the effect of the weather on our servers. Everyone suffers the same, so balance prevails.

The Correct Abstraction Model of a Computer

ONE thing that keeps striking me as surprising is that people’s habits supersede all logic. I will provide an example from technology.

How can anybody argue that drive A for floppy disk and C for primary hard-drive is more rational than the rhetorical and self-explanatory /dev/floppy/ (for floppy device) and /dev/hd0/? This comes the prove that it is all just a matter of habits. People refuse to accept new things that they are not already used to, irrespective of their reasoning. In fact, the hierarchy of a computer (abstraction) in the *nix world is far more robust. It may also be easier for a new user to ‘digest’ and everything stems from the root of a single tree.

Google on a computer screen

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