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November 12, 2009

Rotten at the Core

The nature of human organizations is for their collective morality to sink to the lowest common denominator. Which is low, to the level of greed unbridled. After all, corruption is human nature. Intel is trying to get the antitrust monkey off its back by paying off rival AMD $1.25 billion. This is the same Intel that has furiously and ferociously lobbied for patent deform legislation that will get inventors' patent monkey off its back, by diluting patent protection in this country.

In return for the Intel payoff, AMD will withdraw its antitrust complaints in the U.S., Europe, Japan and South Korea. Antitrust in every practically major market that worries itself with antitrust. But that is unlikely to stop the Europeans in particular from pursuing the matter, as they already have plenty of evidence to make a case.

At the core is Paul Otellini, Intel CEO, who denies any wrongdoing. Otelli's bottom line: "While it pains me to write a check at any time, in this case I think it made a practical settlement," having to shell out to AMD as a calmative. $1.25 billion makes for one desperate laxative for no wrongdoing.

The corporate ass-kisser known as the U.S. government, renowned in recent months for showering banks and mega-corporations with bail-out money while leaving the unemployed struggling to cope with the aftermath of unregulated corporate greed, has made no great shakes to dampen Intel's anti-competitive exuberance. The FTC may look into complaints by Nvidia, the graphics chip maker, that "Intel has exerted its power to limit innovation," according to David Shannon, Nvidia's general counsel. Nvidia contends that Intel makes connecting rival chips to Intel microprocessors difficult.

In New York, feisty attorney general Andrew Cuomo filed an antitrust case against Intel last week. "Rather than compete fairly, Intel used bribery and coercion to maintain a stranglehold on the market," asserted Mr. Cuomo in a press release. Example: Intel's Otellini wrote in an email that Dell, at the time of exclusively using Intel chips, was "the best friend money could buy." New York has a vested interest in Global Foundries, the chip fabrication company recently spun off from AMD.

As to lessons not learned, Intel says it will continue its same practices that got it so much attention from regulators worldwide. So the Wall Street Journal opines: "Now it's time for government enforcers to retire from the fray too."

As to patents, the point is that large corporations will do everything up to and past the legal limit, to relentlessly crush rivals, and inventors who assert their patented inventions in pursuit of a reasonable royalty.

In corporate mores, Intel is not an exception, only exceptional in its vigor.

Posted by Patent Hawk at November 12, 2009 8:35 PM | Patents In Business

Comments

You hit the nail on the head with the way government has treated or should we say reciprocated the corporations at the expense of the citizens of this country. Everyone knows ha ha that a corporation is not a citizen so they can always call their gifts policy that famous kiss it all goodbye statement and say they've sold the commoner out for the "good" of the country and wave a few flags rah rah. Where is it going is anybody's guess but what is worse than ever is that the middle class peasants are becoming the making ends meet "po" since the trully poor are subsidized. I hardly ever get out any more and even when I do I feel guilty for spending anything over ten dollars. I love my computer when the alternative is getting out in comforma'burbia but this stuff about Intel is enough to make me cry where the hell is the competition. I guess they don't have enough spare change to pay off the right people to stand a chance ha ha. steve jaubert

Posted by: steve jaubert at July 6, 2010 5:23 PM