Dell's 'Mr. A' is a key figure in Intel defense

An unnamed high-ranking Dell executive is cited liberally in the European Union ombudsman's review of the decision to fine Intel on antitrust charges.

Brooke Crothers
Brooke Crothers Former CNET contributor
Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.
2 min read

With possible action by the Federal Trade Commission looming, an unidentified Dell executive is cited prominently in legal documents as a person who might exonerate Intel, or at least mitigate the severity of the charges leveled against it for alleged antitrust behavior. So, what is known about this Dell mystery man?

This week the Dell executive, referred to as "Mr. A," was cited throughout the European Union ombudsman's "decision" on on a complaint filed by Intel about the European Commission's ruling against the chipmaker. Ombudsman P. Nikiforos Diamandouros' November 18 decision found "maladministration" on the part of the Commission because of its failure to make a "proper note" of a meeting with Dell--represented most prominently by Mr. A in the the ombudsman's decision.

Diamandouros has been the The European Union's ombudsman since April of 2003.

Most importantly, Mr. A is brought up by Intel as a person who has made exculpatory statements--and therefore could refute allegations such as those made about Intel and Dell in New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's complaint against the chipmaker.

And who is Mr. A? He was "a senior Dell executive" and the person "responsible for Dell's relationship with Intel," according to the ombudsman's published statement.

What else is known about Mr. A? Intel asserts in its complaint to the Commission--which the ombudsman responded to in its decision--that "Mr. A's FTC [Federal Trade Commission] testimony exonerates Intel and contradicts the allegations contained in the statement of objections concerning Dell's relationship with Intel."

And Intel has had more to say about this person. "Mr. A again gave sworn testimony confirming that the key points made in his 2003 FTC testimony, to the effect that Dell did not have an exclusive relationship with Intel and that Intel did not 'threaten' or 'punish' Dell for considering a dual-source [Intel and AMD] strategy."

Also in the ombudsman's decision--which refers to Intel as the complainant: "It is clear from these events that the Commission sought to conceal and suppress exculpatory evidence. Also in the complainant's view, this misconduct (and the failure to make a complete note of the meeting which would have eliminated any debate as to what Mr. A said) constitutes a serious act of maladministration."

Intel spokesman Chuck Mulloy said Thursday that Intel continues to talk to the FTC. "Yes we are talking. We are continuing to answer their questions concerning our business practices and now we are also explaining the settlement we just completed with AMD [Advanced Micro Devices]," Mulloy said.