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11.05.09

Andrew Cuomo Should Sue and Punish Microsoft for Same Crimes as Intel

Posted in Antitrust, Europe, Hardware, Law, Microsoft, OLPC at 6:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Intel: criminal inside

Summary: NY Attorney General targets Intel for its crimes that even Europe and Korea exposed this year; but why does Microsoft get a free pass for similar tactics, including with Intel?

Andrew Cuomo, the Attorney General whom we criticised for his totalitarian stance on USENET, has just launched a belated US lawsuit against a criminal company called “Intel”. [via]

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has filed a federal antitrust lawsuit against microprocessor maker Intel, alleging that the company engaged in a “systematic campaign” of illegal conduct to protect a monopoly.

Intel has already been found guilty in two continents this year [1, 2] (all those which actually investigated Intel). But Intel’s behaviour is not much different than Microsoft’s. On Intel-Microsoft collusion, as well as kickbacks with OEMs, we previously wrote in:

There are many more posts about this subject and they go into great detail, typically showing how Microsoft and Intel engaged in illegal activities to control prices, to control inventories, to prevent consumer choice, and even to kill charitable projects like OLPC. There is abundant evidence to show this, but evidence is not always enough to get regulators eager enough to react. With billions of dollars at stake, companies like Intel and Microsoft surround regulators by lobbyists.

“[P]unishment for Intel may mean that Microsoft is next and a conviction is likely easy to achieve.”Some months ago we saw a front group of Microsoft (ACT) defending Intel in Europe because of the implications for Microsoft. As we explained back then, punishment for Intel may mean that Microsoft is next and a conviction is likely easy to achieve. Microsoft is still under investigation in Europe.

“Kickbacks” is the word one of our readers uses to describe what Intel relied on. “Intel gave Dell $6 billion dollars in kickbacks over five years,” he adds. “Sometimes the kickbacks were the largest source of profit to Dell, accounting for more than 1/3 of their earnings in some quarters. IBM and HP were also paid off and all but AMD reaped the rewards of high margins through collusion. Vendors who offered AMD chips would be denied hundreds of millions of dollars in “rebate” money.”

The links he gives are:

• Wall Street Journal: Dell Got $6B Via Secret Intel Pact

• BusinessWeek: Intel-Dell Dealings Under Fire

• CNET: N.Y. lawsuit details Intel’s ‘largesse’ toward Dell

Those Dell kickbacks are not news by the way. Boycott Novell wrote about them over two years ago.

“Dell also locked in a lot of private and government monopolies in the same years,” our reader says. “State governments, for example, signed exclusive deals with Dell, barring all other vendors from consideration. [University] Researchers had to prove special needs to buy anything else.”

Does that sound familiar?

“Barring all other vendors from consideration…”

Well, Microsoft engages in the same tactics, which are illegal. One country which is affected by it is Hungary. For some background:

eWeek Europe has a report from Hungary this week. It’s going under the headline “Ditch Microsoft, Save £269m Says Hungarian Open Source Group”

Despite a struggling economy and public debt, the Hungarian government continues to spend millions on Microsoft licences when cheaper alternatives exist, say open source groups

With governments across Europe including the UK looking to slash public spending to tackle budget deficits resulting from bank bail-outs and other effects of the recession, open source could be an important way to cut IT costs, according to free software advocates.

Bulgaria and Latvia are stuck in a similar type of absurdity, as we showed just over a week ago.

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