Suit: Intel Sabotaged Compiler for AMD

Advanced Micro Devices is alleging that Intel sabotaged the performance of its CPUs by crafting a routine for its compiler to build programs along un-optimized -- and perhaps even dangerous -- code paths for AMD processors, all while optimizing performance for its own "Genuine Intel" chips.

The accusation was made within a brief filed in the United States District Court for The District Of Delaware as part of AMD's ongoing antitrust case against Intel.

"Intel has designed its compiler purposely to degrade performance when a program is run on an AMD platform. To achieve this, Intel designed the compiler to compile code along several alternate code paths. Some paths are executed when the program runs on an Intel platform and others are executed when the program is operated on a computer with an AMD microprocessor," the complaint says.

"If the program detects a “Genuine Intel” microprocessor, it executes a fully optimized code path and operates with the maximum efficiency. However, if the program detects an “Authentic AMD” microprocessor, it executes a different code path that will degrade the program’s performance or cause it to crash."

This new question about Intel's potential wrong doings came on the same day when it was revealed the European Union Commission conducted a dawn raid of Intel's European offices along with several of its affiliated OEM partners including Dell.

Last April, the European Commission began looking at Intel with a watchful eye after it was discovered that the procurement practices of several of its member states calling for Intel-based machines violated EU statutes.

In addition, the Commission was servicing complaints that Intel threatened to retaliate against vendors that chose to use AMD products over its own. AMD itself filed a complaint in 2000 and renewed the inquiry in 2004.

Worldwide, Intel is also under investigation by Japan's Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) for alleged anti-competitive business practices. The Japanese inquiry is scrutinizing Intel's policy of offering PC manufacturers rebates if they agree to limit the use of other competing microprocessors in exchange.

The JFTC's other findings were that Intel may have used its "Intel Inside" program and market development funds in an additive manner to hook customers onto its products; if customers were not exclusive they would be cut off. This practice would have coincided with AMD's growth in market share from 2000 to 2002 and the introduction of Transmeta a new entrant into the market place.

An Intel spokesperson was not available to comment on the claims by press time.

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