Dell won't fight AMD request for Intel documentation

Dell plans to comply with AMD's requests for documentation related to its purchases from Intel.

Dell does not plan to contest a subpoena from Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) asking for documents related to its purchases of processors from Intel over the past few years, and will preserve relevant e-mail from company leaders such as Kevin Rollins and Michael Dell as part of AMD's antitrust lawsuit, Dell said in a court filing Wednesday.

Unlike a few of the other parties AMD has subpoenaed, such as NEC and U.K. PC retailer Dixons Group, Dell did not file any objections to AMD's request for documentation. The actions of the world's largest PC vendor with respect to processor purchasing are a key component of AMD's antitrust case against Intel, because Dell has repeatedly declined to purchase processors from AMD despite the smaller chip company's recent success in the server market.

In June, AMD sued Intel claiming that Intel uses intimidation, threats and the selective distribution of cash rebates to ensure PC and server companies limit their use of AMD processors or exclude AMD altogether. Intel has denied any wrongdoing and has claimed that AMD is attempting to shield itself from competition.

Dell is one of over 30 companies that have received subpoenas from AMD, but Dell's participation in the case will be closely scrutinized. Dell, the worldwide leader in PC market share and one of the world's top four server vendors, does not offer AMD's processors on any of the PCs or servers listed on its Web site.

In separate interviews in 2004 and earlier this year, Chief Executive Officer Rollins told IDG News Service that his company has avoided using AMD's processors in part because its purchasing costs would rise by introducing AMD's chips into its products. Although neither company will directly acknowledge it, many analysts and industry observers believe that Intel gives Dell significant discounts on processors and favorable distribution in exchange for remaining faithful to Intel.

Customer interest in AMD's server chips has grown, in part based on benchmarks and third-party reviews that have given AMD's dual-core Opteron processor high marks for the performance delivered by its integration memory controller and point-to-point buses. However, Dell has remained an Intel-only customer.

Dell plans to make "good-faith efforts" to recover e-mail and documents from backup tapes and software images to comply with AMD's requests, it said in a filing with the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, where the case currently resides. The company reserves the right to object to future subpoenas, it said in the filing.

NEC in July filed several objections to the subpoena, claiming that the wording of the subpoena was vague and the process of obtaining and preserving the relevant documents would be expensive, among other things. Dixons took things a step further, strongly denying in a statement that Intel had any influence on its purchasing patterns.

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Tom Krazit

IDG News Service
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