AMD throws down the gauntlet

Cliff Edwards

You've got to credit chipmaker AMD for being incredibly gutsy (or is it deeply short-sighted?). Its latest lawsuit against rival Intel accuses the bigger chipmaker of both bribing and coercing its pc maker-customers to use Intel's chips over AMD's.
It's a carrot-and-stick technique AMD has been complaining Intel has used for decades, but the 48-page lawsuit filed yesterday makes one thing very clear: AMD plans to try to force pc makers to fess up about whether it's all true. Frustrated with the pace of a years-long European Union investigation into potential antitrust violations, the company outlined private conversations it had with execs at big pc makers such as HP, Gateway, Acer and Sony, and now faces the tough job of getting these same people to go on the record with their statements. (It looks like AMD also plans to subpoena documents seized by Japanese regulators, as well as corporate e-mails from pc makers to bolster its case).
Could this burn the bridges that AMD has built with some key pc makers over the past two years with its stunningly powerful new chips? CEO Hector Ruiz says he had no choice. He argues Intel has used every dirty trick in the book to stymie AMD's success anyway.
If AMD already has received some assurances that pc makers will testify against Intel, the case could be pivotal to future earnings at both companies. On the other hand, if no one steps up to help AMD out, this one could be dead in the water.

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