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AMD Claims Intel Inadvertently Destroyed Evidence in Antitrust Case 90

Posted by Hemos
from the ah-the-smell-of-open-court-in-the-morning dept.
Marcus Yam writes "In an unpublished statement to the U.S. District Court of Delaware, AMD alleges Intel allowed the destruction of evidence in pending antitrust litigation. According to the opening letter of the AMD statement, 'Through what appears to be a combination of gross communication failures, an ill-conceived plan of document retention and lackluster oversight by outside counsel, Intel has apparently allowed evidence to be destroyed.'"
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AMD Claims Intel Inadvertently Destroyed Evidence in Antitrust Case

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  • Well... (Score:3, Funny)

    by SCPRedMage (838040) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @09:59AM (#18249532)
    ...at least they aren't claiming Intel did it on purpose. I would hate to see AMD turn into the next SCO.
  • That is a bit silly (Score:5, Informative)

    by sphealey (2855) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @10:03AM (#18249592)
    Historically e-mail systems were never designed for intensive archiving and ad-hoc searching across the database. In fact, even the current generation of systems require bolt-on archivers to meet the new federal evidence requirements. And I talk to people every day at very large entities that are still using Outlook Express, local mailbox storage, and have no usable archiving system.

    Suggesting that the inability to search e-mail in legacy systems is "destruction of evidence" is more than a bit silly in my personal opinion.

    sPh
    • by Billosaur (927319) *

      And speaking of silly...

      The Email Server^H^H^H^H^H^H Shop

      Investigator: This is an email server, isn't it?

      IT Worker: Finest in the company.

      Investigator: Explain the logic underlying that conclusion, please.

      IT Worker: Well, it's so clean, sir.

      Investigator: It's certainly uncontaminated by email.

    • by Chris Burke (6130) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @11:51AM (#18251006) Homepage
      Suggesting that the inability to search e-mail in legacy systems is "destruction of evidence" is more than a bit silly in my personal opinion.

      Describing it as accidental destruction of evidence though is perfectly accurate, at least from a non-technical legal point of view.

      "Through what appears to be a combination of gross communication failures, an ill-conceived plan of document retention and lackluster oversight by outside counsel, Intel has apparently allowed evidence to be destroyed."

      That's pretty much what you're describing, right? Large organizations with completely inadequate data retention, which inevitably destroys data irrespective of that data's importance, in large degree because the company just doesn't have a solid plan in place? That's all AMD is alleging, that their system was inadequate to the task, not that Intel deliberately crippled their email system to lose emails they didn't want showing up during discovery. The fact that this isn't uncommon in email systems makes the argument more believable, not less.

      If they were alleging deliberate destruction of evidence, that would be a whole different ball of wax.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @10:05AM (#18249618)
    I work at Intel and the retention policy is VERY short on sent items and equally short for all the other mail folders in the inbox. I hear of people losing emails all the time because of this. Hell, I have lost a few sent emails myself. Also, from what I heard (from friends in IT) that we only keep a backup of 7 days of all the exchange server data only for disaster/worst case scenario reasons.
    • by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @10:09AM (#18249668)
      That sounds reasonably "advertent" to me...
      Almost like a policy of data loss.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by networkBoy (774728)
        No, it's server resource protection.
        If something is needed for archival, then it can be stored appropriately. The simple truth is the bulk of any large org's e-mail is not essential to anything. Why save all of it? make the users save what they need. Personally I like Intel's thought on the issue.
        It's not like that can't archive processor designs and such, just why archive spam, inter-office bullsh!t, like love letters, plans for the pub and whatnot (ok, the loveletters may be interesting reading...)
        -nB
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by DrWho520 (655973)
          It's not like that can't archive processor designs and such, just why archive spam, inter-office bullsh!t, like love letters, plans for the pub and whatnot (ok, the loveletters may be interesting reading...)
          Because "processor designs and such" do not contain intentions, motivations and business decisions based upon anti-competitive practices. Amidst all that noise is possibly an e-mail gem sent to a distribution group describing some, shall we say, shady business decisions. This e-mail could have spurre
          • Having an compatriot who works at the little "i" I personally feel fairly certain that the company is fairly up and up about their business. I'm not saying individuals wouldn't make shady decisions, just that when push comes to shove, the corp. entity tries its damndest to stay clean. I also am of the general opinion that an e-mail such as you describe would not be snuffed, and at least one individual would have a copy. Human nature is to CYA, thus I as a subordinate, if ordered to do something I don't
          • by Gr8Apes (679165)
            So next you're going to promote recording all meetings and archiving tapes?

            Seriously, what ever gave anyone the idea that email "must" be saved? This move to require archiving IMs is equally intrusive and ridiculous, because next they'll require saving all voice conversations... after all, A/V IM is here already, and it's not too great a leap to go from archiving IM to archiving A/V IM to archiving phone calls....
          • Why would anyone want to store more than they legally had to? All you have to do is read this [wikiquote.org].

            And if you don't think they are hanging corporations (rightly and wrongly), you are kidding yourself.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by malfunct (120790) *
          Its actually proper and recommended e-mail retention policy. Anything that is not necessary for business or possibly pending litigation should be deleted after 60 or 90 days. Business necessary e-mail should only be retained until no longer necessary. Anything pending litigation should be turned over to the appropriate legal department for retention. At least this is the policy where I work and it is aided by a managed folder system in exchange. Unfortunately I have no idea how it is set up, I just know I h
        • Everything you say is true: most email is inane, and hard drive space is limited. But email is so small, and hard drive space is comparatively so dirt cheap that there's really no reason not to save at least the email text if not the attachments. The only reason companies have automatic deletion policies is to destroy evidence before any charges are filed or complaints served. Some data retention policies are so strict that employees will regularly lose important email when they fail to copy or print it; at
        • I agree that companies should not have to save every email for all time. But the issue here may be something called "litigation hold." Once you are aware of somebody's intent to file legal action, you are required to preserve evidence. Even if you never saved a single email yesterday, if you heard of legal action today, you MUST save every email that could be used as evidence in legal action. In this case, there was a legal action under way. It was Intel's obligation (as well as AMD's obligation) to sa
        • by shawb (16347)

          Why save all of it?


          That's simple... Intel should have saved all of the email because they were under a court order to save all of it.
      • But if it's policy (written policy) and it's not in conflict with laws then there can't really be any negative outcomes. You just point to the policy and say, 'this is our policy'.
        Handy if you are a corporate attorney.
      • by ProppaT (557551)
        So what...next we'll require all work related conversations to be recorded and retained for a set amount of time?
      • If you look at any company's data retention policy, it's really just a "data loss" policy. Most are crafted with the thought, "When is the earliest that we can legally destroy this data, and be able to reasonably argue that we aren't liable." Keeping in mind that you could probably be held liable for destruction of data after any time period of retention. It really just comes down to who has the best lawyers.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by cmacb (547347)
        That's exactly what it is. My last months with a large government contractor they had numerous meetings with employees to inform them that they were *not* too retain e-mail, even in private caches. They made it clear that the issue was *not* storage space, admin overhead or anything such as that. They were very open in saying that they wanted the e-mail trail gone in case of a lawsuit. Individuals found hording their own copy of e-mail could be terminated with no prior warning. This was before "Sarbox"
      • I mean, if this was the policy on the file servers then that would be pretty bad. However, SMTP is not a "guaranteed delivery" system so it seems to me that the backup policy should treat it accordingly. Here we used to have a 30Meg limit on our exchange server accounts for ALL content. For many people this basically meant that they had to delete some things at least once a month or they wouldn't have room for new email, and now that the limit is a Gig this is still true for a few people. Unlike IBM we
    • Compare this to the policy at the large financial institution where I work. Internet proxy in place, all emails retained (forever from what I can tell), and all IMs logged and Meebo (or other IM sites) and Gmail (and other personal email sites) blocked. It appears to be the difference Sorbanes Oxley makes...

      I guess without this sort of thing affecting your business and the possibility or likelihood of withstanding lawsuits, emails would be destroyed much quicker (in the time frame the AC mentioned). U
  • don't be fooled (Score:5, Informative)

    by sharp-bang (311928) <sharp...bang...slashdot@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @10:09AM (#18249662) Homepage
    The claim of poor retention is increasingly a stock claim made by plaintiff's lawyers. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure increasingly place a discovery burden on all organizations. Anything and everything electronically stored is subject to electronic discovery, and if you don't have a retention policy that deals with what is subject to discovery when litigation is "reasonably foreseeable", you can be sure the opposing attorneys will point that out, even if it is BS.
  • They way things are going its going to be illegal to delete emails ever. 1000 years from now people will be reading our emails full of bad jokes, pictures of kittens, and viagra spam.
    • It seems the ideal way for a company's employees to cloak potentially-harmful email would be to include references to h3rb@1 V1a6ra, p3n15 en1ar6em3nt, and fr33 pr0n in the subject lines and bodies. That way, when the plaintiffs are searching for mail during discovery, it'll get filtered out by their own filters used to separate the "interesting" email from the gigabytes of spam otherwise burying it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by thedletterman (926787)
      Seriously, I've got nowhere near the capital that Intel has, but I have every official email ever sent through my mail servers. Our email policy is "Leave a copy of messages on the server" and "Remove from server when deleted from deleted items". Then they are told to keep official emails at least 30 days, and delete personal emails. Every week, a script archives the mail folders and every month those archives are backed up. I've had to go through emails three years old before to show details of discussions
  • Pentium bug (Score:3, Funny)

    by Rastignac (1014569) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @10:24AM (#18249802)
    The documents were not destroyed on purpose. They were destroyed by error due to the division bug of a Pentium 1 processor.
    Sorry, AMD.
  • YRO?? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by adam613 (449819)
    What, exactly, does this have to do with my rights online?
    • What, exactly, does this have to do with my rights online?
      CmdrTaco thought that "Miscellaneous Legal Issues" was too verbose for use as a topic section, so YRO it is.
       
    • by dr.badass (25287)
      What, exactly, does this have to do with my rights online?

      It concerns your right to be an AMD or Intel fanboy. If you're an AMD fanboy you have right to smugly assert that AMD's on-die memory controller makes them 50% less of an evil soulless corporation than Intel. If you're an Intel fanboy you have the right so smugly assert that Intel is is evil at smaller die sizes.
    • What, exactly, does this have to do with my rights online?

      - You have a right, when suing other people, to force them to retain their online correspondence, so that you can use discovery to find evidence against them among it.

      - Others have a right, when suing YOU, to force YOU to retain YOUR online correspondence, so that THEY can use discovery to find evidence aginst YOU among it.

      - These override the defendant's "right to privacy" as related to his online correspondence in the civil suit.

      Make sense now?
  • ... they mostly just sell chips... man these are tough... must be over-fried or something.
  • Poor AMD (Score:2, Insightful)

    by wolff000 (447340)
    I am definitely an AMD CPU fan boy but the corp itself I have no loyalty too especially with stuff like this going on. I doubt few major corporations have a valid working archive of all emails sent and received. I worked for a decent size corp for years ,around 1500 employees with email, and server side we retained 7 days at the most. It would cost a ton and if the allegations are true in Intel's case wouldn't help to have those emails anyway. As stated earlier this is just typical lawyer tactics. It s
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mr_matticus (928346)
      Why does what AMD's attorneys file in court reflect on the company at all? I doubt these are all AMD staff litigators, and even if they are, they're just doing their jobs. It's not like AMD executives are running legal strategy meetings and writing the complaints.

      If you have reason to believe that your opponents have (or may have, or potentially will have) lost (whether due to policy, tampering, or accident) data that may potentially be useful, you make a note of it as early as possible. There are specif
      • by dr.badass (25287)
        Why does what AMD's attorneys file in court reflect on the company at all?

        Because those attorneys represent AMD in court.
        • That doesn't make the attorneys a suitable analogue for business strategies. The legal process is not comparable to the science of pragmatics.
    • Re:Poor AMD - RTA (Score:5, Informative)

      by erbmjw (903229) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @11:25AM (#18250626)

      The court instructed Intel to retain all email for 1027 case-specific individuals from the data of case initiation ie 2005.

      This has nothing to do with leaving AMD in a not so great light; but it does have everything to do with Intel not properly following court orders - Intel even admitted they screwed up!

      • by PsychicX (866028)
        Very levelheaded. How would the comments read if it were Apple accusing Microsoft, I wonder.

        Wait, I guess we already know the answer to that.
      • The court instructed Intel to retain all email for 1027 case-specific individuals from the data of case initiation ie 2005.

        ...where did the 3 extra people come from?

        • by erbmjw (903229)
          What 3 extra people? If the article is incorrect in stating 1027 people then I understand your question, but if you are asking why I wrote 1027 - well that is the number that the article mentions twice.

          AMD alleges that more than a third of 1,027 case-specific Intel employees did not receive instructions to retain their data after the 2005 case initiation.

          According to Intel, 217 of these 1,027

    • Yeah, they're just trolling for something they can use to smear Intel. It's amazing to me that the justice system allows trolling like this versus specific requests for specific emails.

      What AMD is actually looking for is a "we must crush AMD" type email that looks like bad press for Intel. Of course, in real life all companies say stuff like that in email, including AMD - it's part of the business culture. Like you, this makes me view AMD as a sleazy company one (small) step above patent trolls and spa

      • by Vancorps (746090)

        It sure is too bad you don't know anything about the case involved as it contradicts pretty much everything you just said. There were specific emails from 2005 back when litigation began that Intel was supposed to hold and they neglected to do so. At the time the emails were not deleted, they were deleted after the court ordered them to hold it. They screwed up, they admitted to it. Not necessarily evil on the Intel front. I've seen cases where email gets lost. In any case, AMD is hardly trolling as Intel h

    • I work for a global company of about 6,000 employees. We retain all incoming and outgoing e-mails(excluding those designated as spam) for a period of 1 year.

      This is a very simple process with Lotus Domino. How many e-mails is that? About 9 million.

      Don't tell me it can't be done, I've seen it.
  • Sheesh (Score:2, Interesting)

    by GregPK (991973)
    I have all my emails dating back to like 1998 on my computer and backed up to 3 different hard drives out of which 1 gets replaced every 2 years. I have it organised by person even. I've yet to have a drive fail on my email computer but I don't want it happening anytime soon. I do delete all spam on a semi monthly basis. Sure my file is large but its handy when looking for old programs or emails that need finding for information thats been lost in the corporate structure. It scares my boss a little in th
    • Sure, that's you, but could you imagine the space needed to do it for EVERY EMPLOYEE?
      • by GregPK (991973)
        Considering my email file is over a gig. Yea, that would kinda suck. but hard drive storage is actually kinda cheap.
      • Sure, that's you, but could you imagine the space needed to do it for EVERY EMPLOYEE?
        If you think that's crazy, imagine the space needed if someone wanted to archive all web content on the internet and make it searchable? If someone were able to figure that problem out, I'm sure they could make a fortune.
         
    • by woolio (927141)
      It scares my boss a little in that I have every single email we've ever exchanged for the last 6-7 years. But then again I don't work for a fourtune 500 company.

      Well, don't ever expect to get a job at Intel!
      • by GregPK (991973)
        I've done some consulting for them already. :-D Back in the day, with thier connected products division. It's a good thing they killed it because that market got crowded quick. Nowdays, it is pretty much taken over by Microsoft and Logitech owning about 80 percent of the connected point product sales out of retail.
  • by strike6 (823490) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @10:52AM (#18250156)
    This isn't an allegation. Intel has acknowledged losing documents. URL:http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/bus iness/16843055.htm
  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @11:02AM (#18250292)
    When the RIAA claimed in court that one of the people it sued had wiped his hard drive and reinstalled the operating system, the court found in the RIAA's favor despite the sheer lack of any evidence on the hard drive. They claimed that the lack of evidence proved his guilt.

    When a government contractor returned the notebook computer he'd been given to perform his job with only the files on it that had been there when it had been given to him (government claiming that he was setting up his own competing business during the time he worked for the government, and they expected to find evidence on the notebook once they got it back, but he used, IIRC, a legal secure delete program) they maintainted that the LACK OF data was proof of his guilt.

    Does this just happen to the little guy, or should the court now find fully in AMD's favor here? And in the process, send a strong message to all of big business?

    After all, this is the same government being pushed to make ISPs retain even more of your personal Internet activities. Shouldn't the punishments be spread around more equally?

  • Not all email (Score:5, Informative)

    by erbmjw (903229) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @11:06AM (#18250354)

    It's not all email from all Intel employees that must be retained

    1027 case-specific individuals at Intel were identified and from 2005 case initiation date Intel is supposed to have all of their email retained; of these 1027 case-specific persons AMD is allowed to stipulate 471 for court scrutiny of data.

    These employees, dubbed "custodians," are persons of interest in the legal proceedings.
  • So? When you merely fail to meet your obligation to stop destruction, you're not liable. Just ask New Orleans about Bush/Brown/Chertoff/FEMA. Or Iraq about Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld. Or Bosnia about Serbian genocide [budapesttimes.hu].
    • Or Bosnia about Serbian genocide

      I don't know much about the other examples you mentioned. But I don't see how this one goes with your reasoning. The link you provided points out that:

      "Serbia has not conspired to commit genocide, nor incited the commission of genocide; Serbia has not been complicit in genocide."

      and:

      the UN's highest court did decide that the Srebrenica massacre was indeed an act of genocide and that Serbia had had the power to prevent it but did not do so

      So There was an act of genocide, but it was not perpetrated by Serbia. So how should they be guilty for it?? It would be like my neighbour telling me they will kill everyone in their household, then going to do it. Me knowing that it is occuring does not make me liable for his actions, does it? (even if I could have stopped it the moment he told me)

      • by Doc Ruby (173196)
        The court found that somehow the Serbian government was not in control of the Serbian army when it genocided the Bosnians. A Serbian government that publicly directed the genocide. That appointed all the army generals and ensured its officers were loyal to their "Greater Serbia at any cost" cause. That recruited its soldiers. That publicly dehumanized Bosnians, blaming them for any number of crimes against Serbia and demanding their destruction. Which the Serbian army then did, often and effectively, right
        • The court found that somehow the Serbian government was not in control of the Serbian army when it genocided the Bosnians.

          Yes, because it was not the Serbian army. It was the Bosnian Serb army. Just because both armies have "serb" in them does not make them the same. Hence the Serbian government had no control, The Bosnian Serb government did, whose leader ordered the siege and massacre (with his military commanders warning him that it would be classed as genocide) and as such is an indicted war criminal (and rightly so).

          A Serbian government that publicly directed the genocide.

          Actually... Most of the public did not know it was going on. During the war they were fed propaganda by

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      When you merely fail to meet your obligation to stop destruction, you're not liable. Just ask New Orleans about Bush/Brown/Chertoff/FEMA.

      Actually, ask them about Governor Kathleen Blanco and Mayor Ray Nagin.

      Making the disaster plan, and executing the plan for the first three days WITHOUT external help, was the responsibility of the locality. FEMA assistance wasn't supposed to be counted on until the fourth day - and even then it's just materiel and money to HELP the state and locality run THEIR plan, not a
      • by Doc Ruby (173196)
        Where's some documentation that N'O was supposed to expect 4 days on their own without FEMA?
  • At home, not so much, maybe a year's worth when I was switching between Windows and MacOS (pre-X), but I'm fairly certain except for that one year or so, I've got pretty much every email worth keeping somewhere on my Mac. (Outgoing emails are sent on my PC, so I've got that there - my Mac mostly just archives email). By worth keeping, it's stuff like mailing lists and other stuff other than spam.

    At work, though, I've inadvertently lost several years worth of email (at least 3+ years). Outlook archived them
  • It should be possibly to judge legality of a regular company by observing their actions, no matter what their intentions are

    Steve Jobs to Linus: "Hey, lets collude and force Microsoft out of the market"
    Linus: "Sure, done deal!"

    Not much to worry about there.

    If a company can break the law just by having specific intentions, we might as well consider them a monopoly and take remedial actions. In case of Intel, they could be required to spin off chip design into a separate company from manufacturing. As Microso

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