The tit-for-tat legal battle between Digital and Intel continued last week when Digital hinted it may ask the Department of Justice (DoJ) to start investigating the chip maker's monopolistic position.
According to the New York Times, Thomas Siekman, VP and general counsel at Digital, wrote to Intel saying his company would "respond as it believes appropriate" if Intel "continues in its pursuit of unlawfully denying Digital access to materials needed by Digital".
A day later, Siekman claimed in the same newspaper that Intel was a monopoly and was obliged under federal antitrust laws to furnish Digital with information about future products.
Intel and Digital both said they were unaware of any possible DoJ involvement, and so were unable to comment on the reports.
Last month Digital sued Intel, claiming the Pentium family of processors violated 10 of its patents. Intel was swift to launch a counter-suit and demanded the return of confidential documents outlining Intel's future plans.
Joe D'elia, a senior analyst at researcher Dataquest, believed Digital could be trying to lure Intel into a trap. He said: "If Intel refuses to supply Digital, then Digital could turn to the DoJ and say, 'this is exactly what we're talking about,' and the industry will view Intel in a very poor light indeed."
If Digital does report Intel to the DoJ, it could encourage other manufacturers to follow suit, in the same way that CompuServe and AOL spoke to the DoJ about Microsoft when it launched MSN. Ironically, eight months after AOL and CompuServe spoke to the DoJ, they ended up abandoning their anti-trust battles and fought to endorse Internet Explorer 3.0.
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