SAN JOSE, Calif. Intel Corp. confirmed it received Thursday (Jan. 10) a subpoena from the New York Attorney General's office seeking documents as part of a new investigation alleging anti-competitive business practices, but the company denies any wrongdoing. The action is the latest of several moves around the globe probing Intel's dominance in PC processors.
"We did get the subpoena, but our business practices are lawful," said Chuck Malloy, a spokesman for Intel. "We believe the microprocessor market is competitive and behaving as a competitive market is expected to behave," he said.
The New York Attorney general's office is seeking documents from Intel as part of an investigation "concerning Intel's pricing practices and possible attempt to exclude competitors through its market domination," according to a statement from the AG's office.
Specifically, investigators are examining whether Intel "penalized its customers, primarily computer manufacturers, for purchasing x86 CPUs from competitors; improperly paid customers for exclusivity [and] illegally cut off competitors from distribution channels," according to the statement.
The Attorney General's office did not respond to requests for more information by press time.
"The press release cites allegations that mirror those in a private case underway in U.S. District Court in Delaware and in that case we have denied the allegations," Malloy said, referring to a case filed by archrival Advanced Micro Devices in 2005.
Intel signed a court decree with the Japanese Fair Trade Commission that concluded in 2005 Intel violated its competition laws. The JFTC alleged Intel offered discounts to computer makers who limited or declined any purchases of CPUs from competitors, primarily AMD.
"We essentially signed a court decree in Japan saying we will not do what we said we were not doing anyway," Malloy said.
Following the resolution, AMD has filed two private suits against Intel in AMD.
Similar investigations of Intel's practices are ongoing with the European Commission
and the Korean Fair Trade Commission.
The New York subpoena comes in the wake of a decision last year from the U.S. Fair Trade Commission not to open an investigation into Intel's business practices. "After careful preliminary review, we have determined that questions raised about Intel's potential anti-competitive conduct warrant a full and factual investigation," said New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo in a prepared statement.
"New York State's decision, based on its findings to date, to open a formal investigation of Intel's anticompetitive business practices is good news for computer buyers in [New York] and throughout the United States," said Tom McCoy, chief administrative officer of AMD in a prepared statement.
IBM is the only major computer maker based in New York. It uses both Intel and in recent years a small but growing share of AMD processors. Separately, AMD signed in 2006 a memorandum of understanding to build a $3.2 billion fab in Albany.
A spokesman for AMD said the company has met with the staff of the New York bureau of competition and has received a subpoena calling for its production of relevant materials.