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Intel might have to share documents in AMD case

Intel should have to share documents that could show it used monopolistic practices to force overseas PC vendors and retailers to shun Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) chips, the special master to a U.S. federal court recommended Friday.

Intel is expected to contest the recommendation by Special Master Vincent Poppiti of the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware before the matter comes before a judge on Jan. 12 for a final ruling. This is the latest round in a long-running legal battle that is scheduled to be decided in a case court beginning in April 2009.

AMD has charged that Intel used its overwhelming 80 percent share of the worldwide microprocessor market to violate antitrust laws through coercive acts such as threatening to withhold incentive payments to PC vendors if they specified AMD chips in their products.

In September, Intel got a boost when District Court Judge Joseph Farnan ruled that Intel would not have to share those records, since U.S. courts had no jurisdiction over such actions alleged to have occurred in other countries. In return, AMD argued that foreign actions could also impact sales to U.S. customers, despite the fact that its chips are manufactured in Dresden, Germany, and sold to overseas customers.

Poppiti’s recommendation agrees with AMD’s motion, reasoning that the market for x86 microprocessors is global, so Intel’s behavior worldwide could serve as evidence in a U.S. antitrust case. Poppiti was appointed to make recommendations to the court related to the discovery phase of the case in which the sides share documents that can be used as evidence.

“We are encouraged that the special master recognizes the importance of obtaining all evidence of Intel’s wrongdoing, regardless of where it occurs, to demonstrate the impact it has had on AMD’s domestic and export business,” AMD spokesman Michael Silverman said in an e-mail.

Intel lawyers are still reviewing Poppiti’s recommendation, and have not yet decided whether they will file additional arguments by Dec. 27, Intel spokesman Chuck Molloy said in an e-mail.

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