Antitrust Group Encourages Investigation Of Intel

And the legal beat goes on…

AMD’s newest ally in its antitrust battle with Intel is the American Antitrust Institute (AAI), which sent a letter to U.S. Federal Trade Commission Chair Deborah Majoras urging the FTC to formally investigate “Intel’s monopolization conduct in microchips.”

The AAI also posted the letter on its home page, noting the “investigations of the European Commission, Japan, and Korea of Intel’s alleged monopolization of microchips.” The AAI suggested the US government “should reclaim its traditional role as the leading antitrust enforcer, especially when it is two U.S. corporations that are involved and the rest of the industrialized world is so concerned.” The letter encourages the FTC “to weigh in on this conduct that has so long gone unchecked.”

AMD,  which forwarded the AAI letter to, declined to comment further. Intel  did not respond to a request for comment heading into the long Labor Day weekend. The AAI noted in its letter that it receives contributions from a wide variety of sources, including high tech companies, one of which is AMD.

AMD first filed suit against Intel in 2005, alleging Intel paid companies like Dell and Toshiba not to do business with AMD and signed exclusive contracts with Sony NEC, Acer and Fujitsu. In March of that year, the Japanese Fair Trade Commission found Intel had committed anti-competitive practices.

Intel fired back a few months later, saying AMD was a poor supplier of products. That wasn’t exactly a direct response to AMD’s allegations. Things took a controversial turn in March of this year when it was disclosed that Intel was missing a large number of e-mails and documents that AMD had requested in the case.

In-Stat analyst Jim McGregor finds this all dangerously distracting. He recalls when Rambus was the darling of the industry before it became litigation-happy. “Maybe the turning point for them was when they hired more attorneys than engineers,” he said.

“I’m not saying AMD doesn’t have a case,” he went on to say. “I’d rather see more emphasis going at their products, their solutions, their marketing, their branding than I would see going after attorneys. When this comes to a legal head, the market will still go to whoever has the best products and solutions.”

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