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Skype's decision to release Intel-only features on its newest software refresh may have been a poor idea

Last month we wrote a small piece about the upcoming Skype 2.0 features that are only enabled for Intel processors.  AMD is hoping to add another spear to its ranks by demanding Skype documents that prove or disprove Intel provided incentives to Skype for this favor.  Intel denies the allegations

A Skype executive declined to comment earlier this month when asked whether the company had tested the performance of its software on both Intel's and AMD's dual-core chips. An Intel representative confirmed that there are no instructions that specifically enhance the performance of voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) software like Skype's in Intel's dual-core chips.

This is not the first time this year for an AMD-Intel legal battle.  AMD has been building anti-trust cases against Intel in Japan, the US and Korea for over a year, claiming that Intel leverages its buyers and distributors to not carry AMD products.  Of course, AMD's 21.4% marketshare is looking pretty good to the company right now, monopoly or not. 

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monopoly, duopoly or competition?
By tygrus on 3/1/2006 7:33:03 PM , Rating: 3
It's a fine line.
* If Intel paid $$$ of incentive to exclude AMD then that would be monopolistic.
* If Nvidia paid to have a game only run on Nvidia then that would be monopolistic.
* If Intel provided their own engineers/code under a contract/license then it would be OK for Intel to say that their work (IP) can only be used with Intel CPU.
* If Intel prevents a feature (minus Intel IP) to work on AMD then that would be wrong.
* If Intel was able to stop them taking the same deal with AMD to assist then that would be wrong.
* If AMD could pay/assist Skype the same to add the feature for them using AMD IP and Skype IP (as in non-Intel IP) then they should and drop it out of the other claims.
* If the feature is 100% Skype IP then it should limit # conference call connection according to testing the users CPU/system to determine how many it can support (benchmark based, not CPUID based).

The problem is if Intel is using the profit and influence of it's past and present dominance to block/handicap competition even when the competitor may have a better product&price.

* There should be nothing stopping AMD to use Intel tactics to encourage OEM's to sell more AMD and less of Intel.
* There should be nothing stopping AMD to assist OEM's to produce better AMD systems at lower prices and more advertising (co-marketing).
* Intel has a lot more spare cash (even after ongoing Itanium losses) to heavily discount and promote products (their's and OEM's using Intel).
* AMD did manage >20% market share previously but was knocked around by it's own problems and Intel structured payments that severely punished anyone who had high sales (or from increasing sales) of AMD CPU's (even if their sales of Intel were not dropping).
* Current AMD action has scared Intel into being more cautious but the fine line is walked on by Intel. Since the AMD action, AMD sales have dramatically increased. It's also spooked some OEM's into allowing more AMD and resist Intel's propositions.
* AMD have increased ASP so it could be a fair duopoly/competion.
* It's not fair for Intel to have two varstly different effective prices for the same order mix/qty if the OEM/retailer is in the same region/market, same advertising but only difference is one os also selling AMD on the side.

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