The board of American International Group Inc. is meeting today to accept the possible resignation of Chief Executive Martin Sullivan, according to a person familiar with the matter. A resignation isn't a done deal but is considered highly likely, this person said. A decision to replace Mr. Sullivan, a 53-year-old AIG veteran who has worked at the company since he was 17, would underscore the seriousness of the problems facing the global insurance giant.
June 15, 2008 NEW YORK TIMES Editorial The Intel Investigation It certainly took its time. But the Federal Trade Commission’s decision to open a formal antitrust investigation of Intel is very welcome.
An investigation is needed to determine whether and how much the goliath of the microprocessor industry is resorting to anticompetitive practices to shut out the rival Advanced Micro Devices. We are also hopeful the decision means that the F.T.C., which has shown little appetite for antitrust regulation under the Bush administration, is finally ready to do its job.
American regulators have been all but AWOL as the rest of the world has closed in on Intel’s disturbing business practices. On June 4, South Korea’s antitrust watchdog fined the company for offering hundreds of millions of dollars worth of “incentives” to two Korean computer makers not to buy microprocessors from A.M.D.
Last year, the European Commission made a preliminary decision that Intel abused its dominant position in Europe: offering big rebates to companies that bought most of their chips from Intel, selling chips below cost, and paying companies to cancel or delay the launch of products with A.M.D. processors. In 2005, the Japanese Fair Trade Commission issued a cease-and-desist order to stop similar tactics by Intel in the Japanese market.
While all this was going on, the F.T.C. chose to “informally” look into Intel’s actions. Chairwoman Deborah P. Majoras blocked a formal inquiry for months. Only after her departure in March did a new chairman, William E. Kovacic, authorize a formal investigation.
Intel rejects charges that it has engaged in anticompetitive practices, denying that it sells below cost and arguing that its discounts are legal incentives. It says that consumers have benefited because microprocessor prices fell 42 percent from 2000 to 2007. Consumer advocates point out that Intel’s aggressive efforts to tamp down any competition has longer-term costs, hindering innovation by locking out smaller rivals that may have better products with new features or lower prices.
Whether the issue is tainted food or the mortgage crisis, this White House’s hostility to regulation and coddling of big business has proved very costly to Americans. The next president will have to do a lot better.