AMD has filed a lawsuit in Delaware, United States, alleging that Intel has been involved in anti-competitive practices within the US that have prevented AMD from operating.
The AMD press release states that "The48-page complaint explains in detail how Intel has unlawfully maintained its monopoly in the x86 microprocessor market by engaging in worldwide coercion of customers from dealing with AMD. It identifies 38 companies that have been victims of coercion by Intel - including large scale computer-makers, small system-builders, wholesale distributors, and retailers, through seven types of illegality across three continents."
The move follows a ruling in AMD's favour in Japan, where the Japanese Fair Trade Commission found that Intel had illegally paid big brands
like Sony and NEC to use their chips exclusively, resulting in a loss of business for AMD.
The complaint goes into some fairly hefty specifics. Here's a couple of examples of situations that AMD says Intel had a hand in:
- Then-Intel CEO Craig Barrett threatened Acer's Chairman with "severe consequences" for supporting the AMD Athlon 64(tm) launch. This coincided with an unexplained delay by Intel in providing $15-20M in market development funds owed to Acer. Acer withdrew from the launch in September 2003.
- Establishing and enforcing quotas among key retailers such as Best Buy and Circuit City, effectively requiring them to stock overwhelmingly or exclusively, Intel computers, artificially limiting consumer choice
- Intel paid NEC several million dollars for caps on NEC's purchases from AMD. Those caps assured Intel at least 90% of NEC's business in Japan and imposed a worldwide cap on the amount of AMD business NEC could do.
The list goes on and on... it makes for fascinating reading. Rest assured that we'll be tracking this all the way through the courts - although don't expect any big decisions for a long while yet.
It's going to be a big one - a decision for AMD in this court (and bear in mind they've already been to Japan and won) could signal a huge shakeup for the industry. AMD has set up a website that's worth taking a look at, at amd.com/breakfree
How do you think this is going to fly? We want your thoughts!
I knew my law degree would come in handy one day...