AMD has today announced that it has filed an antitrust complaint against Intel in the US Federal District Court. AMD claim that actions from Intel such as putting pressure on customers to only use Intel chips and punishing those who do support AMD are illegal. "For most competitive situations, this is just business. But from a monopolist, this is illegal" remarks Hector Ruiz, AMD Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer.
In a 48 page complaint [PDF] filed with the US Federal District Court, AMD makes numerous claims of how Intel has maintained its market strength, including paying Dell and Toshiba to not do business with AMD.
Essentially, AMD's argument is that Intel provides significant financial favours (often in the form of rebates or price cuts) to companies exclusively selling Intel chips and attempts to prevent companies from taking on AMD chips by taking away those benefits.
There are other claims beyond this, including suggestions that Intel's compilers were designed to run with degraded performance on AMD CPUs.
If reading a 48 page complaint doesn't appeal to you, then AMD have outlined the complaint in a press release and have created a fair and open competition section on their website.
What does this all mean for us mere consumers? Hector Ruiz spells it out:
"Intel's illegal actions hurt consumers - everyday. Computer buyers pay higher prices inflated by Intel's monopoly profits. Less innovation is produced because less competition exists. Purchasers lose their fundamental right to choose the best technology available."
It is certainly interesting to note that AMD have done a lot of the innovating recently. x86 was extended by them to include 64-bit support and also integrated the system memory controller into the CPU die, essentially doing away with the front side bus. Seemingly, Intel follow AMD when necessary, just in time to prevent big customers considering taking onboard some of AMD's innovative technology.
This case, the outcome of which could be extremely significant, is definitely one to watch.