Advanced Micro Devices said it has served subpoenas to 36 major US tech companies seeking documentation to support its antitrust lawsuit against Intel.
AMD expects to receive 6 to 8 terabytes of data in documentation from the subpoenaed companies, which include Dell, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Lenovo, Gateway, Sun Microsystems and units of Fujitsu and NEC.
Three companies not previously subpoenaed to restore pertinent documentation were also asked to produce evidence: Appro International of Milpitas, California and MPC Computers and Egenera, both based in Wilmington, Delaware.
We are expecting a tidal wave of material, said Chuck Diamond, AMD’s lead outside counsel for the case.
He said the case is shaping up to be one of the largest electronic discovery cases in US litigation. AMD expects to employ more than 100 lawyers to process the documentation, which likely will take several months.
AMD also is readying to send subpoenas to several European companies that were named in its lawsuit filed three months ago.
According to the suit, the story of Intel’s allegedly illegal behavior is even worse in Europe.
For instance, AMD claims to have been entirely shut out from Media Markt, Europe’s largest computer retailer, which accounts for 35% of Germany’s retail sales. Intel subsidiaries also foreclose AMD from food retail chain Aldi, which account for an additional 15-20% of the German market.
UK-based Dixon Services Group, which operates Dixon and PC World stores, and Toys ‘R’ Us also are named in the suit, as well as France’s Conforama, Boulanger and Germany’s Vobis and RIC. Fujitsu-Siemens and Netherlands-based Paradigit and Quote Components also are named.
All the companies subpoenaed, which include tier one OEMs, international distributors, systems builders and principal retailers in the US and Europe, were named by AMD’s sales staff as being privy to Intel’s alleged illegal monopolistic behavior, Mr Diamond said.
[AMD’s sales force] know who has been the subject of Intel’s carrots and sticks, Mr Diamond said. We have reason to believe that all of the companies that we have serviced discovery on have been the subject of Intel’s coercion and intimation.
Among its claims, AMD alleges No. 1 chipmaker Intel had threatened customers with retaliatory action if they bought chips from underdog AMD.
Intel has emphatically responded that its customer discounts were not illegal but rather in keeping with the essence of competition.
Intel spokesperson Chuck Molloy said Intel had no comment on the recent subpoenas, except to that they are one of many procedural developments in what will be a lengthy case.
Mr Diamond had a different take on the situation: We’ve rolled up our sleeves and ready to do the heavy lifting to develop the environment we need to prove our case.
The subpoenas do not name individuals within companies. However, individuals involved in allegedly shady Intel dealings, including those named in the lawsuit, will later be served for deposition, Mr Diamond said.
Those named in the suit were Dell chief executive Kevin Rollins, former Gateway CEO Ted Waitt, former Compaq chief executive Michael Capellas and HP manager John Romano.
They represent the tip of the ice berg, Mr Diamond said. At least several people in each subpoenaed company likely will be called upon for deposition at some future point. HP, for example, has several dozens of staff involved with microprocessor procurement, he said.
The 40 or so companies that will be subpoenaed will not be sued by AMD. On the contrary, Mr Diamond said. We think they’re the aggrieved parties here as much as we are. They have been victims of the Intel monopoly.
Mr Diamond pointed to the 60 consumer class action suits filed in the US on the behalf of the ultimate buyers of Intel microprocessors. Those plaintiffs have not sued any [Intel] suppliers. They have sued Intel and Intel alone and I don’t see that changing.
No one is blaming the OEM community for Intel’s misconduct, he said.
ADM has requested correspondence between Intel and these customers that relates to Intel purchases dating back to January 1, 2000. The companies have 30 days to deliver, but Diamond said AMD would be willing to negotiation on timing.
While five years is long enough for an enterprise hardware replacement cycle, Mr Diamond said much of the correspondence AMD seeks will be Outlook-or Lotus Notes-based, which are backward compatible with newer machines. Mr Diamond said databases of correspondence were expected to be available.
The companies involved were first notified on June 27, when AMD filed its lawsuit, that they would be required to product the documentation. Mr Diamond said those databases were essentially locked up by most companies then.
Obviously there is some normal corporate pruning that goes on but we suspect the material we’re looking for will be in archives both locally and on networks, Mr Diamond said.
Mr Diamond said AMD has no reason to be concerned about any companies destroying documentation that may be relevant to the case. He also said he has heard no reports of Intel behaving in a manner in any way to obstruct this process.
AMD is hopeful the case will get to trial toward the end of next year or by early 2007, Mr Diamond said.
During the past three months, Mr Diamond said consumer class actions and litigation against Intel has put somewhat of a hold on the forward progress of our case.