EU Intel Fine and New DoJ Antitrust Ambiguity Hurts America's Crown Jewel Tech Companies

06/15/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Gary Shapiro President and CEO, the Consumer Technology Association

I am sad to see one of America's greatest technology companies saddled with a record-setting $1.4 billion fine, a payment which will simply fund the EU government and do nothing for consumers or competition. No consumer paid more for a computer for Intel's success - indeed the evidence is they paid less and any legal violation is based on ill-defined antitrust laws where the line between aggressive competition and monopolization is blurry and subject to legal debate.

Americans should be asking their government to protest this outrageous fine, as any competitive disagreement between Intel and other American companies is more appropriately resolved in American courts.

We have to ensure that not only small competitor companies are protected, but that large successful companies also have the right to be wildly successful. For this reason, I am equally concerned that the U.S. Department of Justice this week threw out clear antitrust guidelines on what is legal and what is not. Companies are entitled to know when they are breaking the law - especially the antitrust laws. This vacuum of clarity creates the type of uncertainty which can inspire timidity with America's most successful technology companies - at the very time they should be aggressively innovating and marketing to create jobs and lead us out of the recession.

With so many of the world's most successful and innovative technology companies based in the United States (and almost none in Europe) we call on the Administration to become their ardent defenders worldwide - while at the same time ensuring that competition is possible and entrepreneurs and innovative and disruptive technologies are possible.

Gary Shapiro is the president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association.