AMD Drops Divisions and Directors, Intel Catches Heck

Long-suffering market second-spotter AMD hasn't been having a particularly good — well, let's say "stretch" — lately, and things haven't gotten any better this week, as two divisions and a top executive collected their cards yesterday just as the European Commission leaned on arch-rival Intel for anticompetitive activities.

With AMD reporting its eighth straight quart odeure, veteran CEO Hector Ruiz submitted his resignation, giving over to the equally veteran AMD President Dirk Meyer, though retaining his place on the company's board and control of antitrust efforts against Intel. AMD's handheld and digital TV divisions didn't fare as well — the doomed departments were dragged off to the guillotine in an attempt at damage control following the $1.19 billion loss posted for this quarter.

AMD's amputation activities come oddly close to a new spate of misfortune for Intel, AMD's main competitor and the subject of a flurry of antitrust allegations. The European Commission gave those allegations an extra boost, announcing three new competition charges against the chip giant, charges which Intel must now respond to within the next eight weeks. According to the Commission, Intel has played fast and loose with its pocketbook, paying manufacturers to delay the release of AMD-laden products, coughing up cash to cajole them into dropping AMD for Intel chips, and proffering payola to at least one major retailer to dispense with AMD outright.

Intel describes itself as "disappointed" by the charges — Is that disappointed they got caught, or disappointed the Commission missed all their other tricks? — but disappointment or not, they'd better take the EC seriously, because they'll have no qualms at all about deflating Intel's "considerable muscle."

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