New York's Attorney General, Andrew Cuomo, has served a wide-ranging subpoena seeking documents and information on Intel. Cuomo is investigating whether Intel violated state and federal antitrust laws by coercing customers to exclude Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), from the worldwide market for x86 CPUs.
“After careful preliminary review, we have determined that questions raised about Intel's potential anticompetitive conduct warrant a full and factual investigation,” says Cuomo. “Protecting fair and open competition in the microprocessor market is critical to New York, the US and the world. Businesses and consumers everywhere should have the ability to easily choose the best products at the best price and only fair competition can guarantee it.
"Monopolistic practices are a serious concern particularly for New Yorkers who are navigating an information-intensive economy.”
The subpoena served yesterday on Intel seeks documents and information concerning Intel’s pricing practices and possible attempt to exclude competitors through its market domination.
The information sought is relevant to whether Intel, among other things:
* Penalised its customers, primarily computer manufacturers, for purchasing x86 computer processing units (CPU) from competitors;
* Improperly paid customers for exclusivity; and
* Illegally cut off competitors from distribution channels.
The x86 market accounts for over $30-billion in annual worldwide sales, with Intel retaining the lion's share of the market, estimated at 90% by revenue and 80% by volume.
“Our investigation is focused on determining whether Intel has improperly used monopoly power to exclude competitors or stifle innovation,” says Cuomo. “We will also look at whether Intel abused its power to remove competitive threats or harm competition in violation of New York and federal antitrust laws.”
Similar antitrust allegations have been examined by authorities in Europe and Asia and resulted in formal actions, including a cease and desist order, against Intel.