Feeds

Intel runs private, compulsory licence regime – FTC

Air supplies a go-go as Stan reserves right to trade IP in 'value for value commercial exchanges'

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

New hybrid storage solutions

Intel has been running "its own privately administered compulsory licensing regime," says the US Federal Trade Commission in pretrial documentation released yesterday. The FTC is due to open its antitrust case against the chip giant on 9 March, and although its case is a lot tighter-looking than the rival attraction, DoJ versus Microsoft, this one should run and run as well. The FTC intends to argue that Intel is a monopoly, and uses it power to extract patents and deals from its partners. Spats between Intel and Compaq, DEC and Intergraph (currently running its own antitrust action against Intel) will be used in evidence will figure prominently, and Intel's practice of cutting-off access to technical data during disputes will be argued over in some detail. Intergraph, for example, which is claiming Intel tried to blackmail patents out of it, had its 'air supply' (which, aptly, is an expression Microsoft execs claim an Intel exec made up) cut off in order to encourage it to surrender. A judge last year seemed to agree, ordering Intel to switch the oxygen back on pending the outcome of Intergraph's suit. Intel, bless it for its plain-speaking approach to business, won't be denying that it does this kind of thing, but will be arguing that it's perfectly within its rights to do so. If somebody's suing you, it's unreasonable to expect you to help them, and Intel says the FTC is trying to prevent it "from using its intellectual property to barter in value-for-value commercial exchanges." Now there's a loaded expression, and refreshing, too - Microsoft denies everything, but Intel wants to prove it has the right to engage in 'you scratch my back' business arrangements. The FTC also argues that by suppressing innovation Intel has held the market back. But that's going to be a difficult one to prove, as the paranoid survivalists at Intel have habitually jammed innovation (Intel-scripted innovation, naturally) down the customers' throats far faster than the customers themselves have thought necessary or realistic. In its own filing yesterday Intel argued first that it wasn't a monopoly, second that the FTC's economist, Harvard professor Frederic Scherer, had failed to identify any harm done by Intel practices, and third that even monopolies have the right to intellectual property. The FTC wants Intel to licence its technology freely. If the FTC can prove monopoly, then Intel is in trouble, because monopolies only have rights to their intellectual property up to a point - restrictions on their use of that property are likely to be imposed. But if Scherer really can't figure out harm, he must be about as switched-on as the dismal economists who've been witnesses in the Microsoft case. Intergraph certainly looked harmed, and back in the early days of the Pentium you'll recall that Intel supported Dell, Gateway and PB, while Compaq, which was still trying to do its own innovations, was left with an embarrassingly low share of the Pentium market. Prof Scherer, if the FTC can show Intel was being a naughty monopoly when it did this stuff, you can demonstrate harm. ®

The next step in data security

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.