E-mails for Intel CEO, Chairman Among Missing
During last Wednesday's hearing before the Special Master in the AMD v. Intel antitrust case, attorneys for Intel acknowledged that company CEO Paul Otellini, chairman Craig Barrett, and executive vice president for sales and marketing Sean Maloney, were among more than 300 company employees who apparently did not back up their e-mails and important documents personally.
The senior employees may have been under the impression that their IT departments were performing the backups; and indeed, those departments may have also thought backups were performed or under way.
But in statements made during a conference call in the chambers of Judge Vincent Poppiti, the court-appointed special master in this case, it was revealed that perhaps as many as 384 employees, perhaps fewer, did not have complete "freeze tapes" - captured images of their personal files for specific days.
In fact, some media that were believed to have contained freeze tapes may end up being completely empty. The reason for this state of affairs could be that these employees either received poor instructions on how to back up data, or no instructions at all.
Information on those tapes may be critical to the antitrust case against Intel, as it helps complete a set of data which can be "harvested" by AMD attorneys. On the other hand, it may not be critical, though it's impossible to know for certain without the complete set of backups.
The information AMD seeks may not be irrevocably lost, and a transcript of last Wednesday's session reveals AMD is well aware of this. In fact, the tone between Intel's and AMD's attorneys seemed genuinely diplomatic, as both sides appeared willing to forego accusations and work toward an agreeable solution.
Since it may be physically impossible to collect and harvest information from the entire e-mail repository of a corporation as huge as Intel, both sides had earlier agreed to jointly select a subset of Intel employees, called custodians, who would be in key positions in the company and whose personal documents would be recorded for future scrutiny.
After significant give and take between both sides, the list eventually totaled 1,027. Based on information revealed at the hearing, backups may not even exist at all for about 151 on that list.
However, e-mails from Otellini, Barrett, and others may conceivably be harvested through their recipients, whose backup files may have been kept.
The impact of an apparently faulty backup and/or recovery process for senior executives' files on Intel Corp. notwithstanding those files' role in the antitrust case, was not discussed.