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AMD takes antitrust case to the masses

Company launches marketing campaign against Intel, running full-page ads to explain its antitrust suit and to issue a call to action.

Advanced Micro Devices launched a marketing campaign against Intel on Wednesday, running full-page ads in newspapers to outline the reasons for its antitrust lawsuit and to issue a call to action.

The ad, which ran in newspapers from The New York Times to Capitol Hill's Roll Call, broadens AMD's legal fight into a battle that embraces the force of public perception and of policy makers.

Whether this effort prompts the U.S. government to take action similar to that of Japan's Fair Trade Commission has yet to be seen.

AMD's ad alleges Intel has harmed and curtailed competition in the chip industry, citing such issues as Intel strong-arming major customers to accept exclusive deals and threatening retaliation should they do business with AMD.

"For most competitive situations, this is just business. But from a monopolist, this is illegal," AMD claims in its ad.

Making its point in language that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission understands, the ad further asserts that "Intel's illegal actions hurt consumers--everyday."

Higher prices and a reduction in innovation and choice among computer sellers are cited in the ad.

AMD also issued a call to action for consumers, asking them to read its legal complaint and "demand innovation."

With AMD's lawsuit potentially taking 18 months to go to trial, this salvo could be the first of many to come in the coming months.

The chipmaker is not alone in using full-page ads to try to sway public opinion in a contentious battle. Other high-tech companies have used similar methods. Hewlett-Packard did so in its proxy battle with former director Walter Hewlett over the Compaq Computer merger, as did Sun Microsystem in its Java fight with Microsoft.