Microprocessor manufacturer Intel has been fielding legal complaints against it in Europe and Asia for a while now, but this morning New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo filed a lawsuit against the company for anti-competitive practices.
According to Ashlee Vance’s article in The New York Times, the state claims that Intel has been using its position in the microprocessor marketplace to strong-arm Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) out of the way, which violates both state and national law.
According to Vance, Attorney General Cuomo’s office said the state has millions of documents from companies such as Hewlett-Packard, Dell and IBM that will provide background on the agreements between Intel and those companies. In addition, the state has testimony from many witnesses.
As Vance points out, Intel lost one case brought by the European Commission that carried a $1.45 billion fine. Intel has appealed the decision. Like the one filed in New York this morning, those suits basically claimed that computer manufacturers and retailers had contracts with the company that forced them into manufacturing and stocking Intel-powered machines, rather than computers with AMD chips inside. Cuomo’s statement accused the company of “bribery and coercion,” which he said hurt competitors and consumers wanting a choice between better processors.
An Intel spokesperson said the company would defend itself, but there’s the matter of a lawsuit filed by AMD, which is due to hit the courts next March. And the Federal Trade Commission is also looking at Intel. Vance quoted a person who knows the state’s case against Intel as saying that the New York suit makes it even more likely the FTC will go after Intel, too. So it appears that Intel is facing a dogpile of lawsuits that may be quite serious for the company’s future.
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