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SOLO-International Op-Ed: Kroes Crows as Intel Is Shafted
Submitted by PhilipD on Thu, 2009-05-14 16:13
Indeed, Ms Neelie Kroes, the European Union’s Competition Commissioner could barely contain her cackle in a press conference to announce the decision when she crowed that 'Intel would now have to change its latest advertising slogan from "sponsors of tomorrow" to "the sponsor of the European taxpayer." I’m sure, crone Kroes, that like me, Intel and its shareholders fail to see the joke in their wealth being stripped away by this despicable theft.
And Intel’s illegal actions? The Commission found that between 2002 and 2007 Intel had paid manufacturers and a retailer to favour its chips over those of its only real competitor, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), and that such acts not only prevented AMD from gaining market-share but they also hurt the consumer. Intel denies these charges and will appeal. The Commission sought to confirm Intel’s illegal practices by carrying out outrageous raids, or as the bully-boys and girls of the Commission prefer to call them,‘unannounced inspections,' on the company's premises. The Commission also has the power to fine any company a potentially crippling 10% of its annual turnover for anti-competitive practices.
But so what if Intel did pay rebates in exchange for favour or exclusivity from its customers, even if that were solely for the purpose of crushing its competitor? It is Intel’s money after all and if those manufacturers and the retailer did accept the cash then presumably they did so willingly; if there were no force or fraud involved then those arrangements should concern no one but those directly involved. And obviously any acceptance of such a deal would be seen by each company as a way to maximise profits- you know Kroes, the profits that are required if Intel and others are to continue to supply consumers with computer goods.
But, crone Kroes bleats, ‘Intel’s actions were frustrating innovation and reducing consumer welfare in the process.' Really?
In 1965 Intel’s founder, Gordon Moore, predicted that, ‘...the number of transistors on a chip will double about every two years.’ Moore’s prediction is still proving correct today and as the quality of the chips has improved the price of computing has fallen dramatically. Meanwhile Intel has to stay on its toes as competitors such as Qualcomm emerge; Qualcomm is developing a microprocessor chip that is cheaper than an Intel one and requires half the power to drive a display.
Seems to me, Commissioner, that the consumer has been well-served by any number of innovative and competitive computing companies over the years and what both companies and consumers need alike is for you, and others like you, to start minding-your-own-business and stop your destruction of the hard-earned wealth of businesses and your punishment of the successful. Best you just stay the hell out of the way, actually.
Philip Duck: firstname.lastname@example.org
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