Did Intel Bribe Dell?

By John Hazard  |  Posted 2008-05-16

Journalists salivate over courtroom discovery. The raw evidence often lays bare all of the wheelings, dealings, buried bodies and canaries corporate lawyers and PR swallow before the public sees it.

It can also drown you in paper and bore you to tears.

AMD v. Intel, an antitrust claim brought by AMD against Intel and now being prepped for trial in a U.S. District Court in Delaware, so far fits the latter description.

Amid more than 150 million pages of evidence there have been moments of courtroom drama, which is like P.T.A. meeting drama. Just this week, Intel was forced to hand over the work product of an internal investigation into documents and e-mails that went missing during the trial (still swallowing canaries).

eWEEK's own Scott Ferguson spent the better part of two days reading several hundred pages discussing potential witnesses and came away with little more than tired eyes and a basic understanding of the case AMD intends to make.

But the UK's The Register today, May 16, posted that it had unearthed evidence from some of the publicly available documents (most remain hidden from public view and even available docs are covered in black ink to "protect trade secrets") that seems to indicate Intel bribed server and PC makers to keep them from using AMD products.

The nut of AMD's case is that Intel used low pricing, comarketing and financial incentives and its weight as the chief chip maker in town to keep server and PC makers from using AMD products.

The Register account includes passages from the discovery that smell a lot like a bribe.

"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 product ... 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."
And then there's Dell. AMD claims 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 wrote.

More to come ... Redacted and covered in black ink, of course.

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