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Google to be hit by €1B ($1.12B) fine within weeks as EU finds it guilty in antitrust case

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1 minute ago, ChineseChef said:

How can a 100% voluntary non geographically limited service have a monopoly in any way??  You can't have a monopoly on search.  Unless they are going to ISPs and data providers and having other search engines shut down, they are in no way a monopoly.  It doesn't matter how much more they are used than other services.  If you have other options, they don't have a monopoly.  End of story.  Regardless of usage rates. 

If you have a very high market share, it's a monopoly. None of that other stuff matters. Google has a monopoly on search, that's the real end of that story.

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1 minute ago, Sakkura said:

If you have a very high market share, it's a monopoly. None of that other stuff matters. Google has a monopoly on search, that's the real end of that story.

What percentage makes it a monopoly?  Where is the cut off?  How few others have to be in the market?

 

I am not saying Google is some small fry.  I am under no delusions that Google isn't the main search engine that everyone uses.  But a monopoly means exclusive CONTROL of the market.  And Google only has teh market share because people choose to use it.  Not because it has any say over the market.  If everyone decided tomorrow that they would only use Bing, Google couldn't do anything about that.  Google couldn't stop the consumers/users from leaving.  Thus Google has no real control over the marketplace, in spite of their massive market share.

 

In a real monopoly, the company on top gets to decide what the consumers/users do, and what their options are for access.  Which sounds like Google, until you realize that anyone can immediately go to any other search engine.  And Google can't stop them.

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1 hour ago, Sakkura said:

Google has a near-monopoly on search

No they don't.  While it may be one of the most widely recognized, there are many different search engines you can choose from.  Lately, I've been using DuckDuckGo as my primary search engine at home.  While sometimes I need to use Google - because their search engine is better in many ways - most of what I need, I can find through DDG.

 

In fact, here's a list of the top 15 search engines.  While Google is number one, they're not monopolistic.

 

http://www.ebizmba.com/articles/search-engines

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10 hours ago, Sakkura said:

They aren't being obligated to promote other businesses.

 

If Google publishes a catalog of Google products, services, and offers, obviously it would be fine if it only contained stuff from Google. But if they make a search engine available, that's a very different matter - if that only linked to Google stuff that would be blatantly anti-competitive. In this case it merely gives Google products and services preferential treatment, but that's still anti-competitive when a search engine is supposed to be the neutral way to find things on the web. And Google has a near-monopoly on web search, particularly in Europe.

Not in my book. It's their search engine they have the right to use it how they please and aren't obligated to promote anyone who doesn't pay them to promote things on their search engine. Don't like it use another search engine. Can't blame the company for people picking their search engine. Either get good or the free market will destroy you. Other business and search engines made by a business have no obligation to promote things for other people and give them free advertising. 


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2 hours ago, ChineseChef said:

Why does a company have to help their competitors in any way shape or form????

You're thinking about this backwards.

It's not about "helping competitors" as much as "not fucking over competitors".

 

 

 

2 hours ago, ChineseChef said:

I would count this scenario as standard buyer beware, or at least buyer should do their own homework.  If you go to only one store, its your own fault for not looking around.

I don't feel this is anti-consumer in such a way that actively hurts the consumer.  This is a scenario where consumers should shop smarter and spend their money elsewhere if they feel Google is being bad.

Since people are making analogies I'll give it a shot.

Let's say Intel felt like they were losing market share and needed to get some back. In order to do this, Intel decided to buy Amazon, SuperBizz, Newegg, NCIX, BestBuy, OutletPC as well as MicroCenter. The first thing they did after buying all of these stores, were to remove all AMD products from the shelves and only showed Intel products there. All the AMD stuff would be put in a box in the back.

 

And now you're asking why that would be wrong? "Why should Intel have to promote AMD?".

It's not about promoting your competitor. It's about not deliberately harming your competitor. Do you honestly not see anything wrong with the example above?

 

In Europe Google has between 90 and 95% market share. Google has an incredible amount of power and therefore they also have a lot of responsibility. The bigger you become, the more responsibilities you have. That might sound unfair to you, but it's really not. A person with a knife does not have to follow as strict rules as someone with a fully operational and loaded tank in his garage.

 

 

As for "customers just need to do more research". Sorry but the laws are there to protect consumers.

That's basically like saying companies should be allowed to put cyanide into candy, because people should just read the labels before eating things. Do you understand what every single thing you put into your mouth is? I certainly don't, but I trust that companies are regulated so that they are not allowed to poison me.

 

You're right that Google is not a monopoly. However, the European anti-competitiveness law also applies to anyone who has a "dominant position within the internal market".

The law states that if you have a very large market share (which is a fairly subjective term, but I think we all agree that 90-95% market share falls into that category" has a special responsibility to make sure it does not harm competitors. So the law is actually written in such a way that the more dominant you become, the more you need to be careful so that you do not harm your competitors.

I can see why some people might not agree with that law, but personally I think it is a good law which ensures that dominant companies do not use their power to harm competitors.

 

 

 

10 minutes ago, MadyTehWolfie said:

Not in my book. It's their search engine they have the right to use it how they please and aren't obligated to promote anyone who doesn't pay them to promote things on their search engine. Don't like it use another search engine. Can't blame the company for people picking their search engine. Either get good or the free market will destroy you. Other business and search engines made by a business have no obligation to promote things for other people and give them free advertising. 

Again, it's not about "promoting others". It's about not harming others.

See my Intel analogy above. There is a very big difference between "not promoting someone" and "pushing someone down".

"Not promoting" would mean that Google just applied their regular search algorithm and showed the results as they should be. This is not what is happening though. Google has (allegedly) bypassed their regular search algorithm to pushed the results from competing services down, in order to make room for their own services at the top. If Google's shopping results were naturally the best ones and would end up at the top then this would probably have been fine. But to deliberately change your platform to favor your own products at the expensive of competitors is not allowed.

 

So again, you really need to stop thinking about this as "Google not promoting competitors" because that's not at all what it's about. It's about Google actively changing their platform to be less favorable for competitors in order to boost their own services.

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3 minutes ago, LAwLz said:

1 - Do you honestly not see anything wrong with the example above? -

2 - The bigger you become, the more responsibilities you have. -

3 - like saying companies should be allowed to put cyanide into candy -

4 - the European anti-competitiveness law also applies to anyone who has a "dominant position within the internal market".

1 - No, I don't see anything wrong with it from a legal standpoint.  Sucks for AMD, but this is real life, get gud or get out.

2 - Personally, I don't see why you should have a responsibility to not "win" your market segment

3 - I already stated that regulations should be there for safety and honesty.  I don't want to go back to the days of finding metal nails and human fingers inside "processed" meat cans.

4 - This I can't really argue, if those are the rules, than so be it.  I do disagree with it though.  And I doubt the public will be voting against it any time soon if they think it should be instated.

 

To expound, I do think that this situation is requiring Google to actively help their competitors.  Google is providing the platform, the engine, and the ads.  If these companies aren't paying to be promoted, than saying that Google should promote them equally with their own ads, is basically giving all ads free to competitors.  If these companies are paying Google, than they may have claim that they aren't getting the exposure they are paying for but that is a different issue entirely. 

 

This is along the arguments that media platforms have to allow "dissenting" opinions, whatever they may be for the situation.  But that ignores the cost of running the websites and services, and most often these arguments are made when the dissenter doesn't pay.  So for this situation, if the companies aren't paying to have their ads on Googles ad platform, which is what Google is, they are getting free ads that Google is paying to host.  Which is forcing Google to pay to host their competitors ads.

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1 hour ago, Jito463 said:

No they don't.  While it may be one of the most widely recognized, there are many different search engines you can choose from.  Lately, I've been using DuckDuckGo as my primary search engine at home.  While sometimes I need to use Google - because their search engine is better in many ways - most of what I need, I can find through DDG.

 

In fact, here's a list of the top 15 search engines.  While Google is number one, they're not monopolistic.

 

http://www.ebizmba.com/articles/search-engines

That list is by US web traffic.

 

This is about the EU, where google has a much more dominant position. They are easily a monopoly.

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2 hours ago, ChineseChef said:

What percentage makes it a monopoly?  Where is the cut off?  How few others have to be in the market?

 

I am not saying Google is some small fry.  I am under no delusions that Google isn't the main search engine that everyone uses.  But a monopoly means exclusive CONTROL of the market.  And Google only has teh market share because people choose to use it.  Not because it has any say over the market.  If everyone decided tomorrow that they would only use Bing, Google couldn't do anything about that.  Google couldn't stop the consumers/users from leaving.  Thus Google has no real control over the marketplace, in spite of their massive market share.

 

In a real monopoly, the company on top gets to decide what the consumers/users do, and what their options are for access.  Which sounds like Google, until you realize that anyone can immediately go to any other search engine.  And Google can't stop them.

It doesn't matter whether people use it voluntarily or not, it's still a monopoly.

 

In legal terms, monopoly power is often considered to start even at market shares well below 50% - as that already gives a single actor a lot of market power that wouldn't exist in a (theoretical) polyopoly with perfect competition.

 

Google being monopolistic in search is a fact. You should know I already sourced that fact earlier in the thread.

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55 minutes ago, MadyTehWolfie said:

Not in my book. It's their search engine they have the right to use it how they please and aren't obligated to promote anyone who doesn't pay them to promote things on their search engine. Don't like it use another search engine. Can't blame the company for people picking their search engine. Either get good or the free market will destroy you. Other business and search engines made by a business have no obligation to promote things for other people and give them free advertising. 

It's not a free market, that's the whole problem. It's as far from the free market as Stalinism, and just as inefficient.

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8 minutes ago, Sakkura said:

Google being monopolistic in search is a fact. You should know I already sourced that fact earlier in the thread.

The issue here is I am in disagreement with the inference of your facts.  I am not disputing the size, nor the sway of such a large company.  But, Google has no power to control the actions of the consumer/user.  Google cannot prevent a competitor's service from being used.  Google cannot affect the ability of the consumer outside of Google's platform.  So while Google has great power in negotiations, they can't control the consumer if the consumer wants to leave.

 

From the tiny fluff piece you call and article " 1. Since monopolies are the only provider, ".  Google is in no way the only provider.

 

You claim that Google is a monopoly because you say it is.  Not because it is.  It doesn't matter if they have 99.99999% of the market share.  If you have other options, and Google can't prevent you from using them, they aren't a monopoly.

 

Your water provider is a monopoly.  Your electricity is a monopoly.  You have no choice but to buy from them if you want water or power.  Google is the big dog, but you don't have to use Google if you don't want to.  Thus, not a real monopoly. 

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1 minute ago, ChineseChef said:

The issue here is I am in disagreement with the inference of your facts.  I am not disputing the size, nor the sway of such a large company.  But, Google has no power to control the actions of the consumer/user.  Google cannot prevent a competitor's service from being used.  Google cannot affect the ability of the consumer outside of Google's platform.  So while Google has great power in negotiations, they can't control the consumer if the consumer wants to leave.

 

But that's blatantly wrong! They have people's eyeballs. They control what gets placed in front of those eyeballs, and they're making sure it's Google Shopping rather than its competitors. Since people tend to click on the first relevant thing, that will absolutely affect which service they use.

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1 minute ago, Sakkura said:

But that's blatantly wrong! They have people's eyeballs. They control what gets placed in front of those eyeballs, and they're making sure it's Google Shopping rather than its competitors. Since people tend to click on the first relevant thing, that will absolutely affect which service they use.

Your entire argument is that Best Buy has a captive audience because people walked in to their store.  And yet, right next to the Best Buy there are 20 other Electronics stores.  Yes Google is the biggest, yes most people use Google.  But your entire argument is that because people CHOOSE to use Google, that Google has to host competitor's ads, to their own detriment.  Why should Google have to host of companies ads above their own for free??  Because people are too lazy to do any real research?  Than too bad, fuck those people, they get what they get. 

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A de facto monopoly is still a monopoly


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1 minute ago, Yoinkerman said:

A de facto monopoly is still a monopoly

Monopoly is about control over the consumers choice.  Google can't control where you go online.  You can't drive down only 1 road, and then complain because that 1 road doesn't go every single place equally.  Google has a majority market share, but no control over the market as a whole.  As long as consumers can go elsewhere, they don't have monopolistic power over the users.  We are talking about search results here, you can still go to the company websites, to other store websites, Google will even provide you the links.  Maybe just scroll down?

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8 hours ago, Jito463 said:

snip

 

I never said laws existed, what I said was it was legal for AT&T to write such abusive contracts because there is no regulation to prevent them.  In the end the consumer would have to mount a legal battle and out fund AT&T's lawyers in order to even have a chance,  becasue under the current law (or lack thereof) AT&T simply need to argue that you signed the contract therefore you already have agreed by the terms, even though you have no say in the contracts wording.

 

I never said unfeted regulation is the only answer, the problem here is that people are having trouble understanding that there is a middle ground.  As  community we all have to make compromises on our ideals in order for the system to work.  I did say the people need to keep the government in check.  That is our job in a democratic political system. 

 

I also never said a company should be able to harm others in its efforts to become profitable.  I only said they should have the right to the same opportunities that every other enterprise has, ergo no artificial barriers or obstacles.  I do not consider laws that prevent them from harming others to be an artificial  barrier.

 

 

I never said the governments where only good, I just said that they were the best tool we as a community have to maintain society.  They are the only voice individuals have when it comes to making laws and regulations.

 

I claim corporations run America becasue every time something major needs to go through your parliament, effected industries make large payments to congressmen and senators and the laws are suddenly defeated.   If that's not them being in charge then I don't know what is.

 

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/04/how-corporate-lobbyists-conquered-american-democracy/390822/

 

http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2011/06/22/orrin-hatch-the-supplement-industrys-lap/

 

And that's just one small incidence.  The whole system is blatantly bought and paid for.  This information is on open record because all donations to political figures has to be publicly listed.  A simple look at who paid which politician and what that politician passed into law or blocked shows a damning trend.   So not really propaganda.

 

I am just trying to maintain a balanced approach to what is essentially an issue that people tend to have strong ideals about.  The problem (like in most online discussions) is that as soon as you post something that is factual, if another person doesn't like it they tend to take everything you say as an uneducated attack.   

 

 


QuicK and DirtY. Read the CoC it's like a guide on how not to be moron.  Also I don't have an issue with the VS series.

Sometimes I miss contractions like n't on the end of words like wouldn't, couldn't and shouldn't.    Please don't be a dick,  make allowances when reading my posts.

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22 minutes ago, ChineseChef said:

Your entire argument is that Best Buy has a captive audience because people walked in to their store.  And yet, right next to the Best Buy there are 20 other Electronics stores.  Yes Google is the biggest, yes most people use Google.  But your entire argument is that because people CHOOSE to use Google, that Google has to host competitor's ads, to their own detriment.  Why should Google have to host of companies ads above their own for free??  Because people are too lazy to do any real research?  Than too bad, fuck those people, they get what they get. 

Not ads. Search results. You keep manipulating the facts and moving the goalposts.

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9 minutes ago, Sakkura said:

Not ads. Search results. You keep manipulating the facts and moving the goalposts.

I have said ads for my entire argument, I haven't moved the goals at all.  Google is not putting ads in place of search results.  They are putting their ads above the results links, which they have done for many years now.

 

The problem here is the common public is stupid, and I don't think laws should ever be put in place because people are too stupid and lazy to fend for themselves in such a simple capacity as having to simply scroll down, or learn how to use a search engine.  Heaven forbid we try a little survival of the fittest.

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1 hour ago, LAwLz said:

You're thinking about this backwards.

It's not about "helping competitors" as much as "not fucking over competitors".

 

 

 

Since people are making analogies I'll give it a shot.

Let's say Intel felt like they were losing market share and needed to get some back. In order to do this, Intel decided to buy Amazon, SuperBizz, Newegg, NCIX, BestBuy, OutletPC as well as MicroCenter. The first thing they did after buying all of these stores, were to remove all AMD products from the shelves and only showed Intel products there. All the AMD stuff would be put in a box in the back.

 

And now you're asking why that would be wrong? "Why should Intel have to promote AMD?".

It's not about promoting your competitor. It's about not deliberately harming your competitor. Do you honestly not see anything wrong with the example above?

 

In Europe Google has between 90 and 95% market share. Google has an incredible amount of power and therefore they also have a lot of responsibility. The bigger you become, the more responsibilities you have. That might sound unfair to you, but it's really not. A person with a knife does not have to follow as strict rules as someone with a fully operational and loaded tank in his garage.

 

 

As for "customers just need to do more research". Sorry but the laws are there to protect consumers.

That's basically like saying companies should be allowed to put cyanide into candy, because people should just read the labels before eating things. Do you understand what every single thing you put into your mouth is? I certainly don't, but I trust that companies are regulated so that they are not allowed to poison me.

 

You're right that Google is not a monopoly. However, the European anti-competitiveness law also applies to anyone who has a "dominant position within the internal market".

The law states that if you have a very large market share (which is a fairly subjective term, but I think we all agree that 90-95% market share falls into that category" has a special responsibility to make sure it does not harm competitors. So the law is actually written in such a way that the more dominant you become, the more you need to be careful so that you do not harm your competitors.

I can see why some people might not agree with that law, but personally I think it is a good law which ensures that dominant companies do not use their power to harm competitors.

 

 

 

Again, it's not about "promoting others". It's about not harming others.

See my Intel analogy above. There is a very big difference between "not promoting someone" and "pushing someone down".

"Not promoting" would mean that Google just applied their regular search algorithm and showed the results as they should be. This is not what is happening though. Google has (allegedly) bypassed their regular search algorithm to pushed the results from competing services down, in order to make room for their own services at the top. If Google's shopping results were naturally the best ones and would end up at the top then this would probably have been fine. But to deliberately change your platform to favor your own products at the expensive of competitors is not allowed.

 

So again, you really need to stop thinking about this as "Google not promoting competitors" because that's not at all what it's about. It's about Google actively changing their platform to be less favorable for competitors in order to boost their own services.

Too bad any of these stores have the right to sell what they want and only what they want. If Intel did that and AMD decided not to open up any of their stores then that's their own fault. Your analogy doesn't work here because Google is still promoting other products just not at the same level as their own. This is like ShopRite and Hannaford only promoting their products to customers while still offering other choices. Both of which is not bad and within their rights in their stores/intellectual property. I'm sorry but you can't force a business to do anything in order to make it more fair to another company that doesn't put in the same effort and money. That's capitalism. #DealWithIt


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21 hours ago, Sparru said:

Yes and no. What people think about something is relevant since deceiving consumers is illegal because of consumer protection. If Google has no intention to show the absolute best results it can get, then maybe it's not clear enough and doesn't convey that message properly. I don't know how exactly the Google shopping links were shown so I can't say if they were clear enough with it.

What people think about something often times has little basis in fact or reality, claiming they were deceived because of their own misconceptions and lack of knowledge does not make what google does illegal, it just means that consumers are uninformed, naive and often don't care to find out anything other than what a government or the media tells them(which in europe happens to be mostly highly liberal/progressive).

 

Google has done an exemplary job of being unbiased in their search results and they most certainly(IMO) have a great search engine and product.

 

What they are being found guilty of is something that EVERY SINGLE other brick and mortar store and many online stores do as well, which is place certain products front and center(whether on an isle end cap, on flashy displays immediately in front of you as you enter the store, or on the website's landing page for extra exposure because they are popular or highly profitable or important for the company or on sale, ECT.

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8 hours ago, MadyTehWolfie said:

If Intel did that and AMD decided not to open up any of their stores then that's their own fault.

It's a good thing you don't make the laws then, because that would create an incredibly unfair and absolutely not-free-market.

"It's their own fault a competitor is sabotaging them. They just need to sabotage back!".

 

At that point the market is no longer dictated by who is offering the best product at the best price. It's ruled by whichever company has the most money and power to dedicated to ruining the competitor. You might be OK with that horrible business practice, but luckily for consumers there are laws in place to prevent that from happening.

 

9 hours ago, MadyTehWolfie said:

That's capitalism

Except it's not. Some of the fundamentals of a working capitalism system is that there exist a competitive market, which is free from monopolies (de facto monopolies or not). That's why government regulations is a very important part of capitalism. To what degree things should be regulated is up for debate though.

 

9 hours ago, MadyTehWolfie said:

same level as their own. This is like ShopRite and Hannaford only promoting their products to customers while still offering other choices.

Except ShopRite and Hannaford does not have 90-95% marketshare. If they did, and were in Europe, then they would be under similar regulations.

 

9 hours ago, MadyTehWolfie said:

#DealWithIt

That's funny, because I don't have to deal with it. 

Maybe it is you who needs to #DealWithIt that companies are not allowed to do whatever they want, if it harms competitors.

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1 hour ago, LAwLz said:

It's a good thing you don't make the laws then, because that would create an incredibly unfair and absolutely not-free-market.

"It's their own fault a competitor is sabotaging them. They just need to sabotage back!".

 

At that point the market is no longer dictated by who is offering the best product at the best price. It's ruled by whichever company has the most money and power to dedicated to ruining the competitor. You might be OK with that horrible business practice, but luckily for consumers there are laws in place to prevent that from happening.

And that very thing type of thing has actually happened where Intel was making exclusivity deals and special rebates to OEMs for using their CPUs making it financially not viable to bother creating AMD based systems. Not that we should dwell on something so far in the past like that, just pointing out it's not a theoretical issue but one that has existed.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Micro_Devices,_Inc._v._Intel_Corp. 

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9 minutes ago, leadeater said:

And that very thing type of thing has actually happened where Intel was making exclusivity deals and special rebates to OEMs for using their CPUs making it financially not viable to bother creating AMD based systems. Not that we should dwell on something so far in the past like that, just pointing out it's not a theoretical issue but one that has existed.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Micro_Devices,_Inc._v._Intel_Corp. 

It was a little different than just self promotion through rebates/deals though, Intel actually went full anti-trust and blackmailed OEMs threatening to withhold stock and prioritizing other OEM's if they used AMD chips at all.    


QuicK and DirtY. Read the CoC it's like a guide on how not to be moron.  Also I don't have an issue with the VS series.

Sometimes I miss contractions like n't on the end of words like wouldn't, couldn't and shouldn't.    Please don't be a dick,  make allowances when reading my posts.

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14 minutes ago, leadeater said:

And that very thing type of thing has actually happened where Intel was making exclusivity deals and special rebates to OEMs for using their CPUs making it financially not viable to bother creating AMD based systems. Not that we should dwell on something so far in the past like that, just pointing out it's not a theoretical issue but one that has existed.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Micro_Devices,_Inc._v._Intel_Corp. 

Not quite the same situation but yeah, it's just one out of many examples where a company clearly misuses their power to try and kill off competitors.

That's exactly why you need some regulations. I don't think the people who goes "companies can just do whatever they want" fully grasp the situation and what would happen if regulations were completely abolished. Where the line should be drawn is up for debate but personally I will probably always lean in favor of whatever benefits the consumers the most, and that's usually what the EU sides with as well.

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11 minutes ago, mr moose said:

It was a little different than just self promotion through rebates/deals though, Intel actually went full anti-trust and blackmailed OEMs threatening to withhold stock and prioritizing other OEM's if they used AMD chips at all.    

That's what I was referring to with exclusivity deals but I guess deal is the wrong wording, I went with that since the case was settled out of court and there was no ruling.

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Just now, leadeater said:

That's what I was referring to with exclusivity deals but I guess deal is the wrong wording, I went with that since the case was settled out of court and there was no ruling.

I usually refrain from making assumptions about intention and integrity without absolute proof, but in this case the publicly available evidence was pretty damning. 


QuicK and DirtY. Read the CoC it's like a guide on how not to be moron.  Also I don't have an issue with the VS series.

Sometimes I miss contractions like n't on the end of words like wouldn't, couldn't and shouldn't.    Please don't be a dick,  make allowances when reading my posts.

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