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AMD files antitrust lawsuit against Intel

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. has launched an antitrust lawsuit against fellow chip manufacturer Intel, alleging that its competitor has used scare tactics to steal its customers.

AMD claims that Intel has attempted to force 38 companies - including large- and small-scale PC manufacturers, wholesale distributors and retailers - into exclusive deals as part of plans to monopolise the industry. According to IDC, Intel processors can be found in more than 80 per cent of PCs running x86-based chips.

AMD is basing its case on information brought to light following an investigation by Japan's Fair Trade Commission, which found that Intel's Japanese operation was giving rebates to five PC manufacturers - namely Fujitsu, Hitachi, NEC, Sony and Toshiba - on condition they agreed to reduce or in some cases cease the purchase of AMD and Transmeta processors.

Intel agreed to abide by the commission's recommendations, but said it did not accept the findings or the way the law had been applied.

AMD also claims that ex-Compaq CEO Michael Capellas said Intel was refusing to deliver processors back in 2000. He allegedly told AMD he had to stop buying their processors as "he had a gun to his head."

In addition, AMD says, Gateway executives felt their company had been punished for dealing with AMD, complaining that Intel had "beaten them into guacamole" in response.

"You don't have to take our word for it when it comes to Intel's abuses; the Japanese government condemned Intel for its exclusionary and illegal misconduct," commented Thomas McCoy, AMD's chief administrative officer and VP of legal affairs.

AMD president and CEO Hector Ruiz issued a statement claiming that "Intel's behavior is much more than meets the eye. Intel's illegal actions hurt consumers everyday."

"Computer buyers pay higher prices inflated by Intel's monopoly profits. Less innovation is produced because less competition exists. Purchasers lose their fundamental right to choose the best technology available."

"These serious allegations deserve serious attention. Earned success is one thing. Illegal maintenance of a monopoly is quite another."

This is not the first time AMD has accused Intel of employing shady business tactics - in 2000, the company asked the European Commission to consider allegations that Intel's marketing strategies broke anti-competition laws. The matter is still under investigation, but as the latest lawsuit has been filed by a private party, it's not yet known whether the commission will take the new allegations into account.

AMD has launched a new website - complete with a link to the full 48-page complaint - here.

Intel has yet to issue an official response to AMD's allegations.

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Ellie Gibson

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Ellie spent nearly a decade working at Eurogamer, specialising in hard-hitting executive interviews and nob jokes. These days she does a comedy show and podcast. She pops back now and again to write the odd article and steal our biscuits.