AMD Files $2 Billion Suit Against Intel Over Computer Chips
Aug. 29, 1991
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) _ Advanced Micro Devices Inc. on Thursday filed a $2 billion antitrust lawsuit against Intel Corp., claiming the rival computer chip maker conspired to maintain a monopoly on key technologies.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in San Jose, also seeks an injunction against Intel to prevent it from continuing the alleged antitrust activity.
Santa Clara-based Intel, which makes the most popular microprocessor ''brains'' of computers, also is under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission for alleged anti-competitive activities.
John Greenagel, spokesman for Sunnyvale-based AMD, said Intel agreed to share its computer chip technology with AMD in the early 1980s, but then balked - something Intel has denied in ongoing disputes between the two companies.
''After achieving success in the market, Intel made a secret decision in 1984 to string us along,'' Greenagel said. ''They didn't allow AMD to obtain access to future generations of the microprocessors.''
There was no immediate comment from Intel on the lawsuit.
Intel became the No. 1 microprocessor maker thanks to its agreement with International Business Machines Corp., which has used the chips in its personal computers since IBM unveiled its first PC in 1981. Intel's so-called X86 line of microprocessors has been the most popular, including the 286, 386 and 486 chips.
AMD also has accused Intel of keeping a tight grip on microprocessor supplies, and giving preferential treatment to larger favored customers.
The lawsuit also accuses Intel executives of threatening to withhold microprocessors from companies that do business with AMD.
AMD broke Intel's five-year monopoly on the 386 chip this year by introducing a clone, and Intel quickly sued in federal court, claiming patent infringement on a math coprocessor device on the silicon brain.
But in that lawsuit - and in a separate action brought by AMD against Intel four years ago - AMD contends that technology-sharing pacts it signed with Intel in 1976 and 1982 allow AMD to use similar chip designs.
Computer industry executives have long griped about Intel's influence over the industry because the 386 chip is often in short supply, so favored vendors allegedly get the product first.
Andy Grove, president and chief executive of Intel, which invented the microprocessor, has defended his company's drive to protect its technology against imitators such as AMD.
''If other people want to compete with us they have to compete on their own merits and not (by) siphoning off our invention and knowledge,'' he said in an interview earlier this year.