Email messages from some of Intel's most senior executives were not preserved after the chip maker was sued for alleged antitrust violations by Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), according to a court transcript released by AMD.
Intel revealed last week that some internal emails that may be important to the case were missing as a result of errors. The transcript, from a conference on 7 March, indicates that Intel chair Craig Barrett and chief executive Paul Otellini were among those who failed to comply with the company's document retention policies.
The executives apparently deleted the email messages, including some to Intel's largest customers, because they were under the false impression that Intel was automatically backing up their email, the transcript said.
"But the last category that I am very worried about is the senior management - and I'm talking executive level Barrett and Otellini," said AMD lawyer Linda Smith, according to the transcript. "This is the absolute top level. And these are the folks that, even if there's only a two-, three-, four-month gap, they're the major players who are communicating with the heads of other companies."
Email messages from several hundred Intel employees have been requested by lawyers for AMD.
Some employee emails were lost because workers failed to move messages from their "sent" folder into other folders and it was automatically deleted, while others were lost because Intel failed to notify hundreds of employees to retain emails related to the case.
Intel representatives in London declined to comment. But Intel spokesperson Chuck Mulloy told the Wall Street Journal that the missing information represented "a small proportion of the tens of millions of pages of documents" that Intel would provide in the case. "There is no evidence whatsoever that any relevant emails or documents have been lost," he told the Journal.
AMD filed its lawsuit against Intel and its Japanese subsidiary, Intel KK, in 2005, alleging that Intel engaged in anti-competitive practices to support its monopoly in the PC processor market. The lawsuit claims that Intel coerced 38 hardware manufacturers, including Dell and Sony, into using only Intel processors and stopping the promotion of AMD products. Intel denies the charges.
The lawsuit, filed in the US District Court for the District of Delaware, covers Intel operations in North America, Asia, and Europe.