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Intel Challenges AMD's Antitrust Case

For once, it's Intel, not AMD, making noise about the big antitrust case involving the two companies.

Intel on Tuesday filed a motion that seeks to greatly reduce the scope of the case. In the motion, sent to the U.S. District Court of Delaware where the case is being heard, Intel asked the court to dismiss consideration of AMD's claims related to sales outside the U.S.

Citing legal precedent, Intel claims that since AMD's microprocessors are manufactured in Germany, the ones sold outside the U.S. (the majority of AMD's sales) are not relevant to the U.S. court's jurisdiction.

While still quite substantial, the scope of AMD's charges would be severely gutted if limited to U.S. sales. Intel said more than 70 percent of AMD's processors are sold to customers outside the U.S.

"We're prepared to defend the entire case," Intel spokesman Chuck Mulloy told internetnews.com. "We just don't want to waste our time and money and that of the court's if a good portion of the case is not eligible under U.S. law.

Mulloy noted that Intel's motion does not address the relative merits of AMD's case against Intel overall. "We're asking the court to rule on the question of whether U.S. law applies here, and we don’t think it does."

AMD claims Intel has acted as an abusive monopoly in a number of ways, such as giving discounts to PC makers that exclude or limit their use of AMD chips. Intel has denied any wrongdoing.

AMD has also taken legal action in Japan where Intel is a defendant. Mulloy suggested the more legitimate way for its chip rival to charge Intel is in the courts of specific countries where it feels it has a case.

In its motion, Intel cites several cases including Matsushita Electric versus Zenith Radio, which said in part "American antitrust laws do not regulate the competitive conditions of other nations' economies."

Both companies should have an opportunity to argue the merits of Intel's motion before the judge in the case sometime in the next few months.

AMD was quick to criticize Intel's move.

Intel's "exclusionary conduct, regardless of where it occurs, harms consumers worldwide, beginning with those in the United States, by raising prices and stifling innovation everywhere," said Tom McCoy, AMD's executive vice president of legal affairs, in a statement e-mailed to internetnews.com.

"Intel’s global exclusionary practices fall easily within the purview of U.S. antitrust laws, and we expect that Intel’s motion will be denied.

McCoy also emphasized alleged abuses by Intel of its monopoly power. "When Intel excludes AMD from selling to computer manufacturers in the global marketplace, Intel has directly harmed AMD’s ability to innovate new products that can be sold to OEMs in the United States."

Intel's conduct has also been under investigation by the European Commission and Korean Fair Trade Commission. But Intel claims AMD has actively pushed those investigations, which it said only proves its point that the issues in those countries are distinct and should not be part of the U.S. case.



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