Friday, July 01, 2005

Go directly to court!

AMD is suing Intel, charging that Intel has abused it's monopoly power and denied AMD market access. Sound familiar? You can read the complaint here -

What AMD alleges is very similar to the compaints against Microsoft. Basically, that Intel used it's monopoly power to coerce PC manufacturers and others to sign exclusive contracts or pay higher prices or otherwise suffer competitive disadvantages. Like the Microsoft case, none of the practices being alleged (as far as I know) are illegal unless Intel is indeed a monopolist. So, just like in the Microsoft case, that's going to be the real crux of the case.

Is Intel a monopolist? Are these contracts or tactics illegal? Who knows? One of the biggest problems with the entire area of law is that no one can know if they are breaking the law until they get hauled into court and a judge consults his Magic 8-Ball. And then there are the appeals.

Wouldn't it make more sense to forget this whole monopoly idea and just make these kinds of marketing tactics and contracts unenforceable for everyone? What do we gain as a society by enforcing these kind of contracts? Let Coke and Pepsi compete without being able to offer perks to customers who sign exclusivity contracts. If manufacturers have to offer products on an equal footing to all potential customers without regard to how those customers trade with the competition, then we can forget all of this pseudo-monopoly nonsense and get back to business.


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