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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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Companies...
By creathir on 3/1/2006 10:43:55 AM , Rating: 2
If a company wishes to limit its customer base like this, let them! Think of resturants that only offer no smoking sections. They are catering to just a certain portion of the market. (The one that hates the smell of smoke while eating)

Should all of the smokers demand to know if the no smoking organizations encouraged this move? Maybe even paid the resturant off?
Who really cares?
If Skype wishes to choose whom they want to do business with, let them make that choice. AMD is being quite unresonable here in my opinion. Skype is not a PC manufacture, they do not sell CPUs or machines that use those CPUs. I do not see how this could possibly be "uncompetitive practices" on the part of Intel. (Mind you, I am no "fan boy", I have an Athlon 64 CPU)

I personally see this as AMD badgering companies that choose to use Intel products.

- Creathir




RE: Companies...
By Spinne on 3/1/2006 11:12:10 AM , Rating: 2
It's not the same thing, because if you let this pass, then you'll start seeing other software that run only on Intel CPUs. As the number of such titles increases, more and more people will be dissuaded from buying AMD simply for compatibility reasons, killing AMD and all other competitors to Intel forever.
In any case, AMD has lisenced the x86 architecture from Intel, so for Intel to then offer incentives to companies to purposely make their software incompatible with AMD's processors is just plain wrong.
I for one am not going to consider Skype's services in the future.


RE: Companies...
By SunAngel on 3/1/2006 11:22:14 AM , Rating: 2
You currently had the same issue with Intel and Power PC processors. However, software campanies had the choice to develop for both platforms. Skype has the choice to develop for AMD platforms. Yet, if the contract between Skype and Intel prevents that, anti-trust issue my be relevant. However, Intel should have the right to purchase research and development from Skype for exclusive services. This just everyday business. AMD does have the option of going to others such as Vonage and have exclusive contracts also.


RE: Companies...
By masher2 (blog) on 3/1/2006 11:38:51 AM , Rating: 2
> "for Intel to then offer incentives to companies to purposely make their software incompatible with AMD's processors is just plain wrong."

But Intel hasn't done this, and not even AMD's lead counsel is claiming incentives were definitely offered.

> "I for one am not going to consider Skype's services in the future."

Wow, with no proof or real evidence...based on one news story alone, which I suspect you didn't even read completely? Remind me not to vote for you for judge.



RE: Companies...
By Viditor on 3/1/2006 1:16:32 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
But Intel hasn't done this, and not even AMD's lead counsel is claiming incentives were definitely offered

Well, no...incentives were certainly given, they just may not have been cash incentives. When you "donate" time and money to optimise code specifically for Skype, that would certainly be an incentive.
quote:
AMD does have the option of going to others such as Vonage and have exclusive contracts also

It's tough to see it from the US, but Skype really has no competitor at all. Vonage is exclusively in North America and the UK, while Skype is truly international. Also, Skype's marketshare is several orders of magnitude higher than the nearest competitor.
quote:
Is Intel's 80% enough of a monopolistic percentage to effectly create harm to AMD

Without question...even Anand has indicated this in his blog (with several examples of it that he had seen in the marketplace). A good example is when AMD was beginning their Opteron launch with HP as a partner. They gave HP millions of CPUs for a startup and to help offset the penalties Intel was going to impose. Just before the launch, Intel threatened HP and they left those CPUs in the crates at their warehouse. Imagine what would have happened to HP's business if Intel started to delay shipments of parts all of a sudden...! They would have been out of business in 6 months. The head of HP said in a meeting that month that they were cancelling the AMD launch because "Intel has a gun to my head".

By writing code for Skype that ends up restricting the overwhelming leader in the field to Intel processors, Intel has created another barrier to entry for AMD.

What amazes me is how Intel's management could have been so stupid as to actually do this AFTER the suit was filed! Otellini just lost a couple of notches IMHO...


RE: Companies...
By fxyefx on 3/1/2006 11:23:31 AM , Rating: 2
AMD isn’t concerned with Skype’s ability to choose portions of the market, but whether or not this particular choice was swayed by incentives offered by Intel - incentives that are possible through Intel’s greater market presence ( illegal incentives. ) What other possible reasons could there be for Skype to exclude ~20% of the market?


RE: Companies...
By SunAngel on 3/1/2006 11:53:46 AM , Rating: 3
You made a solid response ... "why would Skype exclude 20% of the market?" That is one reason why I can not see this as being an anti-trust issue (but I may be wrong though). Is Intel's 80% enough of a monopolistic percentage to effectly create harm to AMD. Some would say 20% is enough to influence the market, maybe not change the market but nevertheless influence it. If Intel was to effective sew-up Vonage and the others from developing for AMD and as a result AMD's marketshare never improved or declined and at the same time the Sony/IBM "Cell" was to swipe marketshare from both Intel, AMD, Via and the others you have to conclude AMD is not competing effectively. But it doesnt seem to me AMD is doing a bad job. Over a decade they went from 0 marketshare to 20+%. Intel's mission should be to contain the damage and repair. AMD's job is to continue to bust the market wide open. So, in other words, both are doing excellent jobs in their respect endeavors. New companies will be the ones claim anti-trust because they can't enter the market. However, we all know the Sony/IBM venture will not have such issue. :)


RE: Companies...
By masher2 (blog) on 3/1/2006 12:16:26 PM , Rating: 2
But it doesnt seem to me AMD is doing a bad job. Over a decade they went from 0 marketshare to 20+%

Err, not true. When AMD released the K7, their market share briefly hit 23%. They're still not back up to that level yet.


RE: Companies...
By Griswold on 3/1/2006 1:12:17 PM , Rating: 2
Rofl. What an example. How would you think about it if this chain of restaurants was one of two sources for food on this planet, holding 80% of the market share? And lets twist it a bit, they only want smokers in their restaurants - dont smoke? Dont eat.

You need to come up with a better analogy to impress anyone.


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