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AMD ordered off US front in Intel suit

Delaware judge limits scope of anti-trust case

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Intel's lawyers will have their laptops searched at one less airport, after a US district judge limited the scope of AMD's antitrust action against the company.

In a motion filed with the Delaware Court, Intel sought to have AMD's US suit, alleging monopolistic conduct in the microprocessor market, dismissed on the grounds that its rival's complaints covered overseas markets, over which the US had no jurisdiction.

AMD is pursuing action against Intel in the European Commission, Japan and South Korea over allegedly anti-competitive deals struck with local resellers. It argues that the x86 processor market is a "single, unitary world-wide market [and that] Intel's foreign conduct neuters AMD and makes it less able to compete domestically". As such, it is appropriate for the companies to do legal battle to the US, it says.

But US District Judge Joseph Farnan rejected this argument. In a 19-page opinion, he wrote: "In the Court's view, however, AMD's chain of effects is full of twists and turns, which themselves are contingent upon numerous developments. Intel's characterization of AMD allegations, which the Court finds to be accurate, illustrates the Court's point.

Thus under AMD's logic, a deal between Intel and a German retailer to promote Intel-based systems...directly affect US commerce because it reduces AMD's German subsidiary's sales of German-made processors in Germany, which in turn affects the profitability of the US AMD parent, which in turn affects the funds that AMD has for discounting to US customers, which in turn affects the discounts that it offers in particular US transactions which in turn affects its competitiveness in the United States, and which in turn affects US commerce."

A bit of setback then, for AMD. The company's anti-trust suits and complaints in Europe and Asia continue as normal. ®

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