Week in review: EU slams Intel with record fine
World's largest chipmaker hit with record EU fine, while Google caused its own network outage. Also: SlingPlayer for iPhone, sans 3G.
Intel was fined more than 1 billion euros by the European Commission for, following a lengthy investigation prompted by complaints made by chipmaking rival Advanced Micro Devices.
The world's chip giant was fined 1.06 billion euros ($1.45 billion) for engaging in illegal anticompetitive practices to exclude competitors from the market for computer chips called x86 central processing units (CPUs), the Commission said.
Between October 2002 and December 2007, Intel held more than 70 percent of the worldwide x86 CPU market. The Commission found that during the period in question, Intel engaged in two illegal practices. The first was that it gave wholly or partially hidden rebates to computer manufacturers on the condition that they buy all or almost all of their x86 CPUs from Intel.
Intel CEOattached to the fine and said the company will appeal the ruling. Otellini cited the Commission's determination of the chipmaker "granting conditional rebates, where the conditions just weren't just volume-based but allegations about exclusive dealings or in one case exclusivity on retail shelves."
"Intel strongly disagrees with this decision. We do not have those kinds of conditions in our contracts. Our contracts are straightforward. They're consistent worldwide and they're volume-based: the more you buy, the less you pay," he said.
Answering a question about how will this affect Intel business practices, Otellini said he hasn't seen the 500-page document yet. "The two-and-a-half page summary released to us did not include what the specific remedies they're asking for are," he said.
However,what you see when it's time to buy your next PC. Antitrust actions can have a dramatic effect when a decision breaks a company into pieces, but the biggest factors in the rivalry between Intel and AMD--and increasingly Nvidia, too--is technology. So while AMD can be pleased with the European Commission's conclusion, it's got bigger worries.
When it comes to taking on Intel, a far bigger factor has been technology--not just processor designs, but also manufacturing skill and capacity--that means chips can be priced competitively while still being profitable.
Google's attempt to launch new networking addresses as part of the IPv6 transition did not work out as planned, causing widespread service outages for about an hour.
Beset by charges that it has become a seedy street corner, Craigslist says it will put an end to its "erotic services" category.
The company has mostly retracted a generally reviled change to the way "tweets" show up in a user's timeline, but says the old way "didn't scale" and an improved strategy is in the works.
The long-delayed app for iPhones will be hitting the iTunes store within hours, but the once 3G-compatible video streaming is now Wi-Fi only.
Also of note