Cuomo Suit Reveals Tortured, ‘Emotional’ Relationship Between Intel and Companies It Paid Off


New York attorney general Andrew M. Cuomo filed a federal antitrust lawsuit against Intel, the world’s largest chip maker, today, not because he has far-reaching political ambitions (though also that) but because Intel’s competitors IBM and AMD have invested billions of dollars in chip plants in New York, and that’s what Cuomo does, he watches out for us, the people. The 80-page suit, which alleges that the company threatened and paid kickbacks to computer-makers to stop them from using chips from competitors like Advanced Micro Devices, is peppered with dialogue lifted from internal e-mails, some of which is actually kind of juicy. Such as the following damning excerpt, about Intel’s increasingly desperate attempts to hang on to a major client, Dell, which chief executive officer Paul Ortellini described as “emotional”:

Michael Dell, however, continued to press home to Intel its performance deficit and its effects on Dell. On November 24, 2005 he capped an email exchange with Otellini by writing: “None of the current benchmarks and reviews say that Intel based systems are better than AMD. We are losing the hearts, minds and wallets of our best customers.” Meanwhile, Intel increased its payment to Dell to an unprecedented level. According to figures provided by Dell, Intel’s payments ($471 million) amounted to 78% of Dell’s reported net income ($606 million) for the period August to October of 2005. On February 16, 2006, Intel took note of a service report in which Dell’s CEO Kevin Rollins had said that Dell had “made no plans to begin using” AMD chips. “Finally something positive” commented one Intel executive. Otellini commented: “The best friend money can buy.”

Cuomo Files Federal Antitrust Lawsuit Against Intel [NYT]