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By | Austin Modine 10th January 2008 19:57

New York launches antitrust probe against Intel

Another day, another investigation

New York state is joining the growing line to probe Intel's paperwork over charges of anticompetitive behavior against chip rival AMD.

The office of New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo today said both Intel and AMD have been served subpoenas seeking documents and information regarding Intel's pricing strategy.

Cuomo will hunt for evidence that Chipzilla penalized computer manufacturers for buying x86 chips from AMD, improperly paid customers for exclusivity, and illegally cut off AMD from distribution channels.

Intel is facing similar investigations in several countries including European Union members, Korea and in Japan. Federal regulators in the US, however, have resisted a formal probe despite requests from AMD and members of Congress.

"Our investigation is focused on determining whether Intel has improperly used monopoly power to exclude competitors or stifle innovation," Cuomo said. "We will also look at whether Intel abused its power to remove competitive threats or harm competition in violation of New York and federal antitrust laws."

A spokeswoman for the NY Attorney General said although such evidence is already being sought abroad, the inquiry is necessary to obtain information specific to violations of US law. She said the office has both the jurisdiction and a long history of enforcing state and federal antitrust laws.

“Protecting fair and open competition in the microprocessor market is critical to New York, the United States, and the world," said Cuomo in a statement. "Businesses and consumers everywhere should have the ability to easily choose the best products at the best price and only fair competition can guarantee it. Monopolistic practices are a serious concern particularly for New Yorkers who are navigating an information-intensive economy.”

And certainly AMD has been kind in turn to New York. In June 2006, AMD signed a deal to build a $3.2bn chip fabrication facility in upstate New York. The deal is one of the largest private investments in New York state history.

Chuck Mulloy, Intel spokesman, said Intel will fully comply to the inquiry. Mulloy said the probe's accusations mirror an antitrust lawsuit previously filed by AMD in Delaware. The company has denied the charges.

"We believe the microprocessor market is competitive and functioning the way it should behave," said Mulloy.

AMD put out a statement saying the investigation is "good news" for computer buyers in New York and throughout the United States."

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