On Wednesday (December 17, 2003), the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) delayed its anti-trust hearing against Rambus Inc. over alleged improprieties in the memory market.
In a report issued today (December 18, 2003), one analyst called the decision "frustrating" in a "foul weather" legal mess.
"Late yesterday, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ; Stephen McGuire in this case) in the FTC's case against Rambus granted himself an additional two month extension for rendering an Initial Decision (ID) in this case," said Erach Desai, an analyst with American Technology Research Inc., in the report.
"The 'extraordinary circumstances' justifying the delay: 443 pages of post-trial briefs, 4,879 finding of facts, 11,806 pages of trial transcript, and 2,200 admitted exhibits during the trial," Desai said. "It's a wonder that it took only two months for the judge to discover the breadth of the paper trail!"
Indeed, the case is a mess--if not foul. "While the bureaucratic process at the FTC is frustrating, as evidenced by yesterday's two-month extension for the initial decision, we believe that this is simply delaying the inevitable," he said in the report. " 'Foul weather' would be a seasonally-appropriate analogy for the bureaucracy that is the Federal Trade Commission. And, the impact will be similar in our judgment, merely delaying the inevitable."
In fact, there is no final analysis. "As we have said before, we are not politically astute enough to handicap the FTC's decision, although we do get the sense that the judge appears to be fair and that the FTC appears to have paved out a path to appease the standard-setting process while 'forgiving' Rambus for their past transgressions," he said.
"Our read into the delay is simply that this is a very slow bureaucratic process," he added. "In the case of the FTC, we continue to believe that investors key in on whether Rambus can collect future royalties on DDR (and DDR2), and focus less on the SDRAM side of the equation."