Several news organizations, including the New York Times, Washington Post, and Dow Jones, have recently demanded that the Intel–AMD anti-trust case records be unsealed. Though the move suggests that critical information may have been withheld from the public, neither AMD or Intel have expressed any problem with further inquiry into case documents.
This is the latest in the anti-trust case AMD filed against Intel in June 2005. AMD’s case is backed primarily by allegations that Intel K.K. offered rebates to Japanese PC makers on the condition that they limit purchases of AMD and Transmeta chips. Intel has denied allegations, and played off the case as a desperation move by AMD.
The two companies have a history of competitive bickering, dating back to when AMD made a living reconfiguring chips they licensed from other companies. In the early 90’s AMD licensed x86 processor designs from Intel for the 8086 and 80286 chips. However, when the 386 model was released Intel refused to provide designs, and later sued AMD for allegedly copying low level microcode within the CPU. Since then AMD has proven itself to be Intel’s biggest competitor, but has always been a very distant second place in the market.
It’s difficult to take anything from the most recent case because it is unclear who is in the right. If it be Intel, then it could be seen as indication that AMD has not met growth expectations, or is trying to shield itself from being pushed out of the market. However if AMD’s claims hold it can be assumed that they have done something to threaten Intel’s formidable presence in the space. The case is expected to go to trial in 2010.