A US federal court has recommended that Intel should have to share documents that could show it used monopolistic practices to force overseas PC vendors and retailers to shun AMD chips.
Intel is expected to contest the recommendation by Special Master Vincent Poppiti of the US District Court for the District of Delaware before the matter comes before a judge on 12 January for a final ruling. This is the latest round in a long-running legal battle that’s scheduled to be decided in a court case 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 US 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 US 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 behaviour worldwide could serve as evidence in a US 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 recognises 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," said AMD spokesman Michael Silverman.
Intel lawyers are still reviewing Poppiti's recommendation, and have not yet decided whether they will file additional arguments by 27 December, according to Intel spokesman Chuck Molloy.