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AMD's lawyers go ballistic as Intel's e-mails disappear

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AMD vs Intel You say 'tomato.' I say 'troubling and flawed document retention policy.'

Yes, friends. AMD and Intel are at it again, attacking each other this time over Intel's e-mail saving strategy. The chip giant is in the process of turning over millions of e-mails and other documents to AMD's attorneys as the companies head toward an anti-trust trial. And, wouldn't you know it, some of Intel's e-mails have gone missing due to what its attorneys characterize as "inadvertent mistakes."

As Intel tells it, the company set a firm, clear document retention policy in place once it learned of AMD's legal intentions. Employees, however, didn't always follow the instructions. Some workers, for example, would move their inbox e-mails to a hard drive but then forget to move their sent box e-mails to that hard drive. Once Intel's automatic e-mail deletion system kicked in every couple of months or so, the sent box e-mails went to message heaven.

Whoops.

Intel copped to a number of other retention gaffes in a letter to district court judge Joseph Farnan. In that same letter, Intel vowed to introduce a new e-mail archiving system from EMC that will automatically store e-mails for employees who have been handed a legal hold notice. The company also plans to go through e-mail chains, looking for some of the missing notes.

That's all too little, too late, according to AMD, which filed suit against Intel way back in June 2005.

"Though all the facts are not in, potentially massive amounts of email correspondence generated and received by Intel executives and employees since the filing of the lawsuit may be irretrievably lost, as may other relevant electronic documents," AMD said in a court filing. "The damage does not appear confined to low-level or marginally important witnesses; to the contrary, Intel executives at the highest level failed to receive or to heed instructions essential for the preservation of their records, and Intel and its counsel failed to institute and police a reliable backup system as a failsafe against human error."

AMD goes on to question some of Intel's clunky data retention policies such as instituting an "honor system" for certain employees to have them store key documents on external storage boxes.

Sensing their advantage, AMD's lawyers turned to flowery language to put Intel's data retention issues in true context.

"Everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong," they claim.

The lawyers then followed that up saying, "Although Intel has agreed to restore all data captured in the thousands of backup tapes it made and preserved, no one can say with any degree of confidence that this will put Humpty-Dumpty back together again."

AMD and Intel are set to appear before the judge in a Delaware court on Wednesday.

AMD has accused Intel of using unfair practices to stop server and PC makers from using its chips. Inttel has denied the charges. ®

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