It's the Year of Discovery at AMD – Discovery of Intel Irregularities, That Is
It's not uncommon for serious competitors to be at each other's throats — Ali and Frasier, Bush and Dukakis, children and the Trix rabbit — and chip-makers are no exception. Intel and AMD have been trading blows for years, and since 2005, have been locked in litigation alleging Intel took it all a bit too far. Judging from recent developments, it doesn't look like there is much chance of an end in sight.
The Intel-AMD litigation has been ongoing in Delaware for the past three years, and the parties are just now getting around to beginning discovery — the pre-trial period of depositions and subpoenas that uncovers evidence for trial. Last month, AMD filed a pre-trial brief with the court setting out what it plans to prove at trial — unfortunately, it was so heavily redacted that piecing the story together would have required channeling Jeane Dixon. It's apparently going to be a wild one, though, as the court has pushed back the trial by a year, rescheduling it from April 2009 to mid-February 2010 in order to give time for AMD's 486 requested depositions. Some of that time will likely be spent pouring over Korean antitrust documents, after yesterday's announcement that the South Korean Fair Trade Commission has fined Intel $25.4 million for anticompetitive activities.
Of course, South Korea isn't the only government to indict the company over its market dominance; in 2005, Japan ruled the silicon giant in violation of Japanese antitrust laws, a decision Intel declined to contest. The European Union is currently investigating Intel's practices — including February's surprise raid on the firm's German offices — as is the New York Attorney General's Office, which opened an investigation in January. Meanwhile, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission — primarily former-antitrust defense counsel and now-chairman Deborah Majoras, who ignored calls from Congress and fellow Commissioners to launch an investigation — has been reluctant to pursue the matter, though an "informal probe" is said to be underway.