Intel Faces Up to E-Mail Retention Problems in AMD Lawsuit

Updated: News Analysis: A judge gives the company 30 days to find missing e-mails; meanwhile, Intel's foibles reveal a prime example of what businesses of all sizes now face since the institution of new f

Intel is facing some big-time legal problems in its 2-year-old legal tussle with a major competitor, AMD—largely because its own internal e-mail archiving system apparently isnt doing the job.

A U.S. federal judge on March 7 gave the worlds largest microprocessor maker 30 days to try to recover about 1,000 lost e-mails that it was required to keep for an antitrust lawsuit filed by its biggest competitor, AMD, in 2005.

Judge Joseph Farnan of the U.S. District Court in Delaware referred the lost e-mail matter to the so-called special master—a court official who follows up such orders for the judge. The judge also ordered Intel to file a detailed report on how it will try to recover the e-mail evidence.

Now there are people coming forward to say that all these digital storage headaches could have been easily avoided with a dose of proactive planning, in light of new U.S. federal court rules enacted Dec. 1 that require companies to be able to quickly find such data when required by the federal court.

Intel, which has 99,900 employees worldwide, admittedly is having some difficulty controlling all its corporate e-mail records, much to the consternation of its legal foe and the court. The e-mails that the company claims are missing reportedly discuss details relevant to the AMDs lawsuit, which alleges that Intel engaged in anti-competitive practices to maintain a "monopolistic position" in the PC processor market, according to the suit.

Most of the missing e-mails were written after AMD filed suit against Intel on June 27, 2005, according to court documents.

/zimages/6/28571.gifClick here to read more about Mimosas e-mail archiving software.

In a statement sent to the court, AMD said: "Through what appears to be a combination of gross communication failures, an ill-conceived plan of document retention and lackluster oversight by outside counsel, Intel has apparently allowed evidence to be destroyed. Intel executives at the highest level failed to receive or to heed instructions essential for the preservation of their records, and Intel counsel failed to institute and police a reliable backup system as a failsafe against human error."

Next Page: Intel upfront about the issues.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in large part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 12 years and more than 3,900 stories at eWEEK, he...