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Is Intel too big for its boots?

Is Intel too big for its boots?

It seems the US Government feels Microsoft is not the only giant IT corporation it perceives to have grown too big for its own boots. All evidence points to the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) putting the chip giant Intel under the blowtorch this week.

Yet not all Australian resellers and ARN readers were whole-heartedly behind the move and in fact were evenly divided on the issue.

FTC's top litigator has recommended to the FTC that a suit be filed against Intel on the grounds that the company has used its dominant marketshare to manipulate the PC market.

As a result of this recommendation, the director of the FTC's bureau of competition, was likely to bring the action against Intel this week. The FTC's case will likely centre on Intel's 85 per cent marketshare and the withholding of technical information from customers and competitors.

Steve Newborn, an anti-trust lawyer in the US, said: "Intel has to stop using its intellectual property as a club to bring people to bay."

Intel bit back with a statement from a US spokesperson that stated: "We've always licensed on a value-per-value basis. We must get returns for cross-licensing Intel property."

ARN's Spot Survey this week showed there is a strong band of supporters for Intel, but conversely there exists a group of detractors equally as loud. As with the Microsoft survey published in ARN two weeks ago, the response rate was above average, indicating this is an important issue to the channel.

Comments from readers surveyed by ARN varied.

One respondent stood behind Intel. He said that as Intel has trademarked the Slot-1 architecture for its own use, it is entitled to the spoils.

"Where is the incentive for companies to put billions of hard-earned dollars into R&D?" said Jon, particularly if regulatory authorities turn around and say you have to share. "Are the other chip manufacturers so lame that they have to steal someone else's R&D?"

"Hasta la vista to computer development," he commented.

In response to our question regarding whether processors were advancing too quickly, Jim Brear at Northnet, said advancing clock speeds from Intel were great steps forward. "It means the hardware is always up to running the latest software."

-- Kim Girard and Dan Briody contributed to this article.


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