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US court grants AMD document retention request

The U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware has granted a request by Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) that documents be preserved for use as evidence as the company pursues its antitrust litigation against Intel Corp., AMD said Monday.

AMD asked the court on July 1 to serve subpoenas for the preservation of documents in the possession of specified third parties so they may be used as evidence in the litigation. The court granted the request shortly afterward, AMD said in a statement.

AMD sent notices to 32 computer companies, microprocessor distributors and computer retailers requesting that they suspend their normal document destruction policies and take steps to present evidence from being lost, according to an AMD filing with the court.

Of these, 14 companies have responded and nine of those indicated they would work with AMD to preserve documents, AMD said. The nine companies were computer makers Acer Inc., Gateway Inc., Lenovo Group Ltd., NEC Computers International B.V. (NEC-CI), Rackable Systems Inc., Sony Corp. together with Sony Electronics Inc., which were counted as one company, and Sun Microsystems Inc. The others were distributor Tech Data Corp. and the retailer Circuit City Stores Inc., according to the filing.

Best Buy Co. Inc. has agreed to comply with AMD’s request “without limitation,” while Dell Inc. and Hitachi Ltd. acknowledged AMD’s letters of request and promised to respond. CompUSA Inc. has acknowledged AMD’s request, the filing said.

Toshiba Corp. is the only company to have acknowledged receipt of AMD’s notice and “refused to negotiate at all,” according to the filing.

Toshiba declines comment on its position regarding the case, according to Midori Suzuki, a spokeswoman for Toshiba in Tokyo.

So far, 18 companies have not responded, according to the filing.

The PC makers that have not answered are Averatec Inc., Fujitsu Ltd., Fujitsu-Siemens Computers GmbH, Hewlett-Packard Co., IBM Corp., NEC Corp., and Supermicro Inc. Of the distributors, ASI Corp., Avnet Inc., Ingram Micro Inc., Supercom and Synnex Corp. have yet to respond, as have retailers Aldi, Dixons Group PLC, Fry’s Electronics Inc., Mediamarkt Ingolstadt, Office Depot Inc. and Vobis, the filing said.

“In the light of the court order, AMD is confident that the companies it has contacted will appropriately preserve the relevant documents,” said Mari Hayashi, a spokeswoman for AMD in Tokyo.

The announcement comes after AMD filed a broad antitrust suit against Intel Corp. at the Delaware court last week, accusing Intel of using discriminatory financial payments and threats to stifle competition and maintain its dominance in the microprocessor market.

The 48-page complaint alleged that Intel used illegal subsidies to win sales, and in some cases threatened companies for using or selling AMD products. AMD identified 38 companies on three continents that it claimed were coerced by Intel.

Later in the week, AMD’s Japanese subsidiary filed claims against Intel KK, the chip giant’s Japanese subsidiary, seeking US$50 million in the Tokyo High Court and millions of dollars in damages in the Tokyo District Court for what AMD called “various anticompetitive acts” by Intel KK.

The suits in Japan were launched in relation to a March ruling by the Japan Fair Trade Commission, which found that Intel had abused its monopoly power in the Japanese microprocessor market, substantially restraining competition.

Intel in the U.S. has disagreed with AMD’s claims, while Intel KK has declined comment on the suits launched by AMD in Japan.

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