Why Is NY, Not The FTC Or DOJ, Filing Antitrust Claims Against Intel?

from the grandstanding dept

I have no idea if Intel is really guilty of antitrust violations or not at this point -- though, considering the fact that its products keep getting faster and cheaper, it's not as if there's been some obvious huge monopoly rents handed out somewhere. However, I do find it quite odd that it's Andrew Cuomo, NY's Attorney General, filing antitrust charges against the company, rather than the federal government. The DOJ and the FTC have been investigating Intel for a while, and haven't yet filed charges. Europe has -- but Europe seems to do that against any successful American tech company eventually, as the European standard for "antitrust" often appears to be "big successful American company" rather than any proof of antitrust behavior. To have Cuomo file such a case just seems misplaced. What does it have to do with New York? Given Andrew Cuomo's rather long history of silly grandstanding to bully companies for the sake of getting his own name in the headlines, rather than any actual legal basis, it feels like more of the same. Pick a big target, don't worry about the legal specifics, but get headlines to build up the name of Andrew Cuomo. It's pretty sad that Cuomo seems to keep attacking innovative tech companies solely for the sake of building up his own political reputation. Tangling up innovation in pointless lawsuits doesn't help the economy in the slightest.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    faceless (profile), Nov 4th, 2009 @ 7:07pm

    It's exactly that, more of the same from Andrew Cuomo. He wants to be Governor. It worked for Eliot Spitzer...

     

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  2.  
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    Tom (profile), Nov 4th, 2009 @ 7:09pm

    AntiTrust is AntiBusiness

    Our Antitrust laws make any businessman a criminal simply by doing business. NO mater what action you take, you are violating one or more of the myriad of antitrust laws in this country. They were designed so that politicians could loot companies to satisfy bloodthirsty voters, and that's exactly how they are used.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2009 @ 7:31pm

    "...build up the name of Andrew Cuomo...."


    Yeah, Someone who doesn't know what their talking about. Might actually work though since most people are brainless auto-matrons incapable of independent thought whom will vote for the name that is loudest in their head.

     

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  4.  
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    Ed, Nov 4th, 2009 @ 7:32pm

    According to Forbes. AMD has fabrication plants in New York. He has to protect his dwindling tax base from getting even smaller from all the people and companies leaving for tax reasons.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2009 @ 8:39pm

    "Europe seems to do that against any successful American tech company eventually, as the European standard for "antitrust" often appears to be "big successful American company""

    Typical american response to other countries values. Pick on america because it is successful. Boo Hoo Hoo.

    They got caught, deal with it.

     

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  6.  
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    LM, Nov 4th, 2009 @ 8:39pm

    Ambiguity in the text

    "Andrew Cuomo, NY's Attorney General, filing antitrust charges against the company, rather than the federal government"

    Why would he sue the government?

     

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  7.  
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    Big Al, Nov 4th, 2009 @ 9:02pm

    'Europe seems to do that against any successful American tech company eventually, as the European standard for "antitrust" often appears to be "big successful American company"':
    Please note that Ii am neither European not American. Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't multiple states get a judgement against Microsoft (even if it did turn out to be a minor slap on the wrist) for antitrust with regard to the included browser? The EU are following exactly the same line with regard to the media player (and now, also, the browser again). And isn't this NY antitrust suit against Intel just a carbon-copy of the European one?
    Seems like a little bit of turning a blind eye to unethical practices on your part simply because the company is a "big successful American company"

     

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    Designerfx (profile), Nov 4th, 2009 @ 9:04pm

    uh?

    Intel actually was found guilty in the EU, so it's probably just coming back around. Evidence from the EU showed intel doing some quite nasty stuff - AMD has screwed up too, but intel has done some supremely shady marketing that is going to hit AMD for years. What do you know, AMD's business went to crap right about the same time as the Intel antitrust stuff found here. Coincidence?

    /pretty much same stuff MS does - buy our products, we give you money, but them again or we're going to shut you off

    Meanwhile, the EU doesn't seem to be exactly biased against US tech companies, specifically because intel is a global/worldwide company. They're not a "us company" anymore than the mitsubishi plants in the us are an asian company.

     

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  9.  
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    wnyght (profile), Nov 4th, 2009 @ 9:35pm

    Re: Ambiguity in the text

    ummm.... Mike is trying to say "the federal government" should be sueing intel. basically, this Andrew Cuomo has no buisness filing this lawsuit against intel, the feds should file it.

     

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  10.  
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    wnyght (profile), Nov 4th, 2009 @ 9:38pm

    On a side note to all of this... though i am no M$ fan, I do happen to like Intel's chips, a little pricy compared to AMD, but they have never given me a problem. (waiting for the "which is better: Intel or AMD" debate.)

     

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  11.  
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    The Groove Tiger (profile), Nov 4th, 2009 @ 9:58pm

    Re:

    Auto-matrons? Is that like robots that help women give birth?

     

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    Azrael (profile), Nov 4th, 2009 @ 11:23pm

    Why Is NY, Not The FTC Or DOJ, Filing Antitrust Claims Against Intel?

    Because you shouldn't bite the hand that feeds you.
    And because Cuomo wants to be president.

     

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  13.  
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    Spanky, Nov 4th, 2009 @ 11:39pm

    re

    Sorry, but while Intel may be somewhat innovative, they're monopolistic whores as well. Or are you unaware of the history of PCs, dating back to the 80s? Both Microsoft and Intel, just to name a few, have records as long as your arm, and have rarely been called to task.

    There's no question that people like Cuomo and Spitzer have aspirations. There's also no question that criminal organizations like MS and Intel need to get their clocks cleaned.

     

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    Azrael (profile), Nov 4th, 2009 @ 11:45pm

    Re: AntiTrust is AntiBusiness

    Shill much?
    No, the antitrust laws are far too bland for my taste. I my opinion everything those greedy companies have squeezed out of us should be squeezed out of them 10 fold.

     

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  15.  
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    Easily Amused, Nov 4th, 2009 @ 11:53pm

    Re: Ambiguity in the text

    See, this is the problem with being a grammar nazi. If you are too strident about it you look like an asshole, but if you are only vaguely sarcastic it looks like you have zero reading comprehension.

    In the future, you can avoid these pitfalls by just refraining from hitting the 'reply' button unless you have something to say that actually adds to the discussion.

    On topic, Cuomo is the douchiest of bags, is only in this for the headlines, will probably smarm his way into the Governorship anyways, and will likely be a terrible leader. Maybe even continue his grandstanding in a bid to jockey for the White House... Someone should catch him with a hooker already and save the state and the rest of us from his BS.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 5th, 2009 @ 2:34am

    i don't have a link so off course "it did not happen"

    but its common knowledge that Intel delays orders and sometimes limits the orders off company that buy too much AMD chips unfortunately i was never able to find out how much is too much

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 5th, 2009 @ 3:28am

    Re:

    NY is also battling with the Indians (again) over cigarette taxes and is losing a couple million a year by NYers going to the reservations to buy cigarettes instead of paying the obscene taxes ( I am not a smoker). NY really doesn't have a leg to stand on since the treaties signed 200 years ago with the Native Americans granted them tax free status.

    Intel is an easier target for a state that has been in the red for some time. Intel has money, NY needs it.

     

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  18.  
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    DS, Nov 5th, 2009 @ 4:02am

    Re:

    Yup... if you want a career in politics, just be the AG for NY, and sue everyone...

    Just doing get caught putting your finger in a hooker's freckle.

     

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  19.  
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    techflaws.org (profile), Nov 5th, 2009 @ 4:42am

    Europe does it right

    Europe has -- but Europe seems to do that against any successful American tech company eventually, as the European standard for "antitrust" often appears to be "big successful American company" rather than any proof of antitrust behavior.

    So it's got nothing to do with the fact that for years and years only Intel powered PCs were for sale at the largest german retailers? Yeah right.

     

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  20.  
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    Matt R, Nov 5th, 2009 @ 4:57am

    I Sorta Get It

    I live in upstate NY, about 30 minutes away from where the AMD plant is going to be built. They have re-designed and added roads and there has been extensive residential development. The addition of this plant should significantly stimulate the economy around the area, and no doubt some kind of contribution to the economy of the state.

    So my friends, is it really such a strange move on NY's part? Now, with that said, I don't really think they have all that much of a case hence the fed not getting involved.

     

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  21.  
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    slacker525600 (profile), Nov 5th, 2009 @ 5:17am

    if you need one example

    of intel's ability to effect progress in technology, just look at USB 3.0.
    Everybody else on the planet has been pushing for its adoption, but since such and incredibly large portion of the market is based on intel chipsets, there is no support, and there will be no support until 2011.

     

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  22.  
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    Capt Obvious, Nov 5th, 2009 @ 5:59am

    Re: AntiTrust is AntiBusiness

    Sounds like an empty opinion. I doubt there is any research to back it up.

     

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  23.  
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    Mart, Nov 5th, 2009 @ 6:27am

    "Europe has -- but Europe seems to do that against any successful American tech company eventually, as the European standard for "antitrust" often appears to be "big successful American company" rather than any proof of antitrust behavior."
    Oh come on Mike! For someone who always has such intelligent insight and often looks at the "other side" of news and opinion, that's a rather stupid thing to say. Did you do any research into this? Do you have any examples of all the other (and there must be loooooots of them ;)) companies convicted by the EU, aside from Intel and Microsoft? Did you actually do any research before you just repeated general US opinion?

    Could it perhaps just seem that way in the US? Could it be that you only hear of American companies getting a conviction because only that news reaches the US? Do Americans care when a company in Germany, France or Spain is convicted? I don't think so. Why would any American newspaper or website write about Telefonica getting a 151 million euro (224 million dollar) fine for charging to much for broadband in Spain?

    Did you do any research before you write things like that? Take a look at these statistics on EU illegal cartel rulings: http://ec.europa.eu/competition/cartels/statistics/statistics.pdf Just take a look at table 1.6 on page 5. All big American companies right? Oh wait! So perhaps not in cartels, they just pick on American companies in antitrust rulings, that must be it!

    So go ahead, they've got a search page where you can look at all the cases they've dealt with online. http://ec.europa.eu/competition/elojade/isef/index.cfm# Just search for all antitrust rulings, and see how many European companies are getting sued. Yes, there are big American companies as well, but hey, if they don't like our antitrust laws (which, as you can see, are applied to EU companies more often), they're free to leave the EU...

     

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  24.  
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    jsl4980 (profile), Nov 5th, 2009 @ 9:53am

    Election is right around the corner

    If you don't let Cuomo grandstand; how else will he get to run for governor? NY has a long history of AG's doing a great job as governor.

     

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  25.  
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    Alatar, Nov 5th, 2009 @ 10:27am

    Oh no...

    Although I understand well and agree with you on the fact that Intel shouldn't be sued precisely by NY and that Cuomo who just seems to be looking for media attention, I can't agree with you on the

    [i]Europe has -- but Europe seems to do that against any successful American tech company eventually, as the European standard for "antitrust" often appears to be "big successful American company" rather than any proof of antitrust behavior.[/i]

    Intel actually does deserve a lawsuit. Evidence of terrible conduct have been found by Europe, and it's not an "anti-american stance", as most of those "bad actions" were hurting, guess who, not an European firm but Sunnyvale-based AMD. Defending American firms against dirty monopoly practices, wasn't that supposed to be the role of the US Authorities?

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 5th, 2009 @ 10:34am

    It is all about money. Where do you think the money went from all those cases that Spitzer brought against companies? Investors? Hahahaha, it went right into the states general fund.

    You think Red Light cameras are only for revenue but that is really just small potatoes.

     

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  27.  
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    Peter (profile), Nov 5th, 2009 @ 11:52am

    it's federalism

    I gotta disagree on this one with you, Mike, at least until the merits of the antitrust claims are better developed. This is the way federalism works. Federal antitrust law does not preempt state law (it could if Congress wanted it to), and NY State's move is something a state is entitled to pursue if it wants to in order to protect its legal and economic interests. So the suggestion (made explicit by wnyght) that Cuomo has no business filing this lawsuit because it ought to be up to the feds is entirely misguided.

    And the feds have been notoriously uninterested in enforcing antitrust laws these past 20 years or so. It's all of a piece with the deregulation of our entire financial system. So I am just as prone to thinking Cuomo is jumping into an area in which Congress has been essentially bought off as much as you are ready to jump in and think it's merely Cuomo putting his name up in the lights.

    Intel hasn't exactly been a gentle player in the marketplace. I'll wait and see how this plays out before I judge it.

     

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    gametheoryman (profile), Nov 5th, 2009 @ 1:10pm

    from a former antitruster

    From the perspective of an economist formerly at the FTC for nearly a decade:

    1. Antitrust cases can be initiated in many ways. Almost every state has an antitrust law similar to the federal law. Any of these states can initiate an antitrust suit on their own. The federal statutes also allow individuals to file antitrust suits on their own.

    2. All U.S. antitrust cases, no matter how they originate, are ultimately tested in the courts against the same set of precedents.

    3. Both the FTC and DOJ know of this case. They most likely concluded an antitrust violation was unlikely after taking a quick look. I give this some weight because federal antitrust analysis got quite a bit more sophisticated around three decades ago. Others less so.

     

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  29.  
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    DS, Nov 5th, 2009 @ 8:38pm

    Re: Re:

    The Indians may have tax free status, but everyone else doesn't.

    Also, if they are such a "Sovereign" nation, fine. They don't have to contribute, and we don't have to worry about giving anything back.

     

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  30.  
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    cKarlGo, Nov 9th, 2009 @ 5:34am

    re: Why Is NY, Not The FTC Or DOJ, Filing Antitrust Claims Against Intel?

    Mike,

    I spent some time reading the complaint. I'd suggest you do the same, if you have not. It's good reading and, should NY be able to prove even a fraction of what it is alleging, then it seems Intel has been very, very naughty. Much of it seems to be coming from their own email and depositions of their own employees.

    My only confusion is why aren't they going after Dell too? They seem to be as much at fault as Intel was...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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