AMD wins small victory in antitrust fight

The inquiry into Intel's alleged anti-competitive behaviour will hear information from across its worldwide operations

AMD won a small victory in its antitrust case on Wednesday, prevailing on a dispute about whether Intel would share information from operations outside the United States.

Concurring with AMD's request, a judicially appointed special master overseeing elements of the case had recommended on 15 December that Intel share information from foreign operations in the evidence-gathering process called discovery. On Thursday, Intel said it wouldn't fight that recommendation.

"While Intel obviously had hoped for a different outcome regarding discovery, Intel of course will comply with the special master's decision and will respond to discovery as the special master directs," an Intel attorney said in a letter to the court.

Given Intel's position on foreign discovery, "We expect that to begin immediately," AMD spokesman Michael Silverman said Thursday. The case is scheduled to go to trial in April 2009, he added.

AMD filed its antitrust case against x86 chip rival Intel in 2005, alleging that the larger chipmaker has monopoly power and used it to keep AMD out of the market. In recent quarters, AMD has gained significant market share from Intel.

The foreign issues spotlight the complications of multinational businesses. Although Intel and AMD compete globally, the U.S. court overseeing the case in September said it lacked jurisdiction to address AMD claims about business it allegedly lost when it came to sales of German-made AMD processors sold outside the United States.

AMD might get to see documents and depose witnesses, but getting the information accepted as evidence in the court case is a different matter. "The special master does not opine on the ultimate admissibility of any foreign conduct discoverability material for purposes of trial," the special master, Vincent Poppiti, said in his recommendation on 15 December.

Intel indicated that it will challenge AMD attempts to enter the foreign information as evidence. "Intel will plan to raise evidentiary issues with the court at a later date," the company said in its Thursday letter.


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