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'All-out war' in Intel-AMD antitrust case

The two sides are breaking out the big guns attorney-wise as they prepare to go to court over AMD's lawsuit.

Lawyers with Intel and Advanced Micro Devices will sit down next month to discuss for the first time their latest antitrust tussle, representatives for the two companies said on Friday.

The meeting has been scheduled for the first week of August 2005. Attorneys are expected to swap names and addresses of people and documents they are likely to use at trial to defend their side of the story.

AMD filed a 48-page suit in a Delaware federal court last month, alleging that Intel uses scare tactics and coercion to prompt computer makers and other companies to use more Intel chips than ones sold by its rivals. Two days later, AMD extended its antitrust claims to include Intel's Japanese subsidiary, Intel Kabushiki Kaisha (Intel KK) by filing similar briefs with two Japanese courts.

Intel's chief executive, Paul Otellini, has said that he expects his company to come out on top in the dispute.

Intel has until Sept. 6, 2005 to file a response to AMD's complaints, court documents filed in Delaware show.

Computer retailers Best Buy and Circuit City, along with hardware manufacturers Sony, Sun Microsystems, Acer, Gateway, Lenovo, NEC-CI, Rackable and Tech Data have agreed to AMD's subpoena for information. Intel has not indicated which companies it has been in contact with.

The lawyers arguing the suits are expected to fight aggressively, according to one legal insider.

While AMD is leaning on Charles Diamond, a lawyer at O'Melveny & Myers and AMD's lead outside counsel, Intel has named Bob Cooper with Gibson Dunn & Crutcher and antitrust lawyer Joseph Kattan to argue its case. Both men were hired to represent Intel during the FTC's antirust probe of the company between 1998 and 2000.

Intel also said it is using the services of Washington, D.C., law firm Howrey Simon to help with the antitrust defense and attorneys with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom to assist Intel KK in Japan.

"Talk about a declaration of all-out war," said Tom Horton, partner, Thelen Reid & Priest, and a former Department of Justice attorney who also worked at the Federal Trade Commission from 1984 to 1987. "I think the companies have hired the best and the brightest to argue their cases. These people know their stuff."