Intel seeks ATI summons in AMD antitrust case

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) sees its planned acquisition of ATI Technologies Inc. as a way to expand its ability to compete in the microprocessor industry. Intel Corp. sees it as a way to expand its defense in a microprocessor antitrust case it is fighting against AMD.

The case dates from June 2005, when AMD, of Sunnyvale, California, filed an antitrust suit against Intel, of Santa Clara, California, alleging that the company used its dominance of the x86 microprocessor market to discourage PC manufacturers and retailers from buying AMD’s processors.

On Thursday, Intel asked the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware for permission to serve a subpoena on graphics chipset manufacturer ATI. Intel is seeking documents that will shed light on how AMD’s planned acquisition of ATI will affect its ability to compete in the microprocessor market.

Intel contends that AMD is solely responsible for AMD’s business failures and successes. It said the ATI documents it wants to see are directly relevant to its defense, because they relate to AMD’s past and future ability to compete.

The court had previously set a deadline of June 15 for filing such subpoena requests, but Intel has asked to file a late subpoena request on ATI, of Markham, Ontario. Intel justified the late request by saying it could not have known before the deadline passed that the documents held by ATI would become so significant, as AMD’s plan to buy ATI was not publicly announced until July 24.

In the request, Intel said it wanted access to documents showing, among other things:

— the transaction’s strategic rationale;
— the effect of the acquisition on competition in chipsets, graphics chips and microprocessors;
— and the effect of the transaction on Intel’s or AMD’s business practices

AMD’s legal counsel did not object to the request to file the subpoena, Intel wrote in its filing.

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