June 28, 2005 3:16 PM PDT
AMD files antitrust suit against Intel
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dealings. The claim at the time was that Intel has "beaten them into 'guacamole'" in retaliation, the complaint states.
AMD has launched a Web site that details the new complaint.
Handicapping the case
One obstacle AMD could face is getting original equipment manufacturers and Intel customers to testify against the chip giant, according to some.
"If an OEM is reluctant to help, you can subpoena them to get the information, but they might not put it in the best light to help your case, or help get the facts assembled the way you want," said an antitrust attorney who asked not to be named.
AMD, however, says it doesn't expect to have difficulty getting its customers to respond.
"Privately, we've had many people in the industry tell us it would be great if they were forced to tell the truth," Simonoff said. When under oath, they'll be in that position, he said.
AMD may find a favorable audience at the U.S. District Court in Delaware, some antitrust attorneys said.
The same court recently ruled in favor of a company accused of antitrust violations, but the court's decision was later overturned by an appeals court. As a result, according to one school of thought, the district court, not eager to see another decision overturned, may be more sensitive to companies bringing antitrust complaints.
In the previous case, Dentsply International had been accused of requiring distributors of its dentures to forgo carrying competitors' products in order to receive discounts on pricing. The district court ruled in favor of Dentsply, but that ruling was reversed when the U.S. Department of Justice appealed.
One lawyer noted that courts sometimes have divergent views on how discounts should be used.
"Some courts view discounts as a normal course of competition, and other courts look at discounts as excluding competition," said Howard Morse, an antitrust and high-tech attorney with Drinker, Biddle & Reath.
Although the European Commission continues to review its case against Intel, antitrust attorneys said AMD's lawsuit may not have any bearing there.
Intel to abide by
Japan FTC ruling
Chipmaker agrees to halt
practice of requiring
PC makers to limit use
of competitors' chips in
exchange for rebates.
They note that, in general, government antitrust regulators with a case under way are usually not swayed by cases brought by private parties.
But in certain circumstances, it can make a difference, said the antitrust attorney who requested anonymity.
"If the plaintiff loses during summary judgment because the question of liability does not hold up, the government will notice and take that into consideration for their own case," the attorney said.
The public nature of a lawsuit also may put more pressure on government regulators to expedite their case, he added.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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