AMD cries foul over Intel's 'river of cash' flowing to Dell
Shows Intel Chairman begging for forgiveness
AMD vs Intel It's document season in the ongoing anti-trust lawsuit between AMD and Intel. Last week, the companies fought over witness testimony and earlier this week a judge told Intel to fork over some documents related to interviews done as the company tried to deal with its deletion of e-mails possibly related to the case at hand. Now, we've received AMD's response to Intel's filing around the witness testimony, and a couple of tidbits fell out of the heavily censored document.
AMD's charges against Intel center on what we're calling Brokeback Syndrome. Intel's lucrative pricing, co-marketing and financial incentives, we're told, made it near impossible for customers to quit the chip vendor. Intel unfairly coerced server and PC makers into having Intel-only stances and into pulling back on AMD-based product plans, AMD alleges. While AMD admits that pricing tweaks and marketing deals are part of doing business, it says that Intel just went too far with the practices, creating an unfair playing field. Intel denies such charges, saying it's all about developing a competitive landscape.
Most of the juicy documents in the case are heavily redacted. We know AMD's claims cover Intel's relationships with companies such as HP, IBM, Dell, Acer, Gateway, Supermicro and others. But we really don't have much in the way of evidence - e-mails, interviews and the like - to back up the claims of improper relationships.
That said, AMD's latest filing did elaborate on a couple of sticking points.
Way back in 2005, we reported on IBM's odd back-tracking around Opteron-based servers. Sources told us that Intel, er, encouraged IBM to halt a couple of Opteron designs. And it looks like AMD is charging after this issue.
AMD's filing states,
Intel denies that it ever "'paid IBM" to limit IBM's marketing of Opteron-based systems or to 'shelve' development of Opteron servers." Intel further contends that, while "IBM's PC Division used only Intel's microprocessors during much of the time period covered by the complaint, that does not mean that IBM entered into an exclusive dealing agreement with Intel or was contractually prohibited from purchasing from AMD."
The facts are otherwise.
Then there's a bunch of redacted text.
But eventually we get, "So between 2000 and 2005, Intel committed numerous (redacted) doing much more than offering IBM 'competitive pricing' as Intel blandly asserts. Rather, Intel conditioned its grant of discounts, rebates, special funds and other consideration on IBM's explicit agreement to maintain its Intel exclusivity and to cancel or defer launches of AMD-based products.
"The evidence also supports AMD's claim that Intel paid IBM to delay and then to refrain from branding or marketing its AMD blade server."
Later, AMD goes on the charge about Dell. It describes Intel's position that Dell's Intel-only stance had nothing to do with discounts as "nonsense" and then claims that a "river of cash" flowed to Dell from Intel.
"Against this backdrop, to say as Intel does that its Dell payments were not conditioned on exclusivity assaults common sense," AMD says in the filing.
There are similar complaints about Intel's interaction with other vendors, but we've covered what's available before, and there's nothing to add until we get a look at AMD's evidence.
The end part of AMD's filing, however, does close out with a rhetoric-filled bang.
AMD is particularly upset that Intel had presented it as a woeful chipmaker incapable of doing much right.
"Yet, in the face of those facts Intel still attempts to characterize AMD as a bumbling competitor beset by lousy products, a poor reputation, bad planning, and terrible execution; in short, a company nobody would want to do business with," AMD says.
AMD is a worthy competitor we're told. Sure, the company faces its share of mistakes, but the chip delays and cancellations are nothing outside the norm in such a fierce, complex market.
As proof that everyone makes mistakes, AMD included a shot of Intel Chairman Craig Barrett begging for forgiveness, during one of Intel's rougher periods. Lovely stuff!
AMD also tried to counter this rather uncomfortable quotation from former marketing chief Henri Richard.
Intel found Richard saying that, "If I was a decision maker in a Fortune 500 company, I wouldn't use AMD."
That statement came as part of a classic Richard speech about how it takes a company with balls to buy gear from anything less than the largest supplier. You won't get fired for buying Intel, just like you won't get fired for buying IBM.
"Intel quotes Mr. Richard's comment that he 'wouldn't use AMD' as if it were a criticism of AMD, but in reality Mr. Richard simply said that it is more conventional and less risky for an IT manager at a big company to choose the largest supplier, Intel, even when its competitor's technology offers a 'compelling value.'
"Unconstrained by the obvious context of Mr. Richard's remarks, Intel shamelessly uses the sentence at least four times to 'prove' that AMD's head salesman thought his company's products were unworthy."
Richard will prove otherwise during his testimony, we're assured.
Ah, things are heating up nicely.
We bring you the full filing here in PDF. ®
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