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Judge backs action against Nvidia and AMD on price fixing

Email from Vivoli to Dave Orton brandished
Wed Jul 16 2008, 08:30

IN A BARELY-REPORTED development, a judge has lauded evidence in a case against apparent arch-rivals Nvidia and AMD which stand accused of artificially keeping the price of graphics cards high.

A San Franciscan law suit combines "at least" 51 separate civil complaints against the GPU makers, according to a report here.

District Judge William Alsup of the Northern District of California was shown an email that had passed between the two firms which suggested ways of appearing to compete with one another while keeping prices high.

"This is not a bad document for you," he told the plaintiffs after reading the email during a hearing held on July 1st. "It is not a home run, but it is a base hit," he said.

Lawyers from Nvidia and ATI were told off by the judge for claiming such documents were trade secrets.

"This court is not a wholly-owned subsidiary of your companies. I am against you hiding information from the public," he said, adding, "If we get to summary judgment in this case nothing will be under seal."

Even, "if it is under seal and it is the recipe for Coke, you have my permission to blurt it out," he said.

We like the sound of this judge already.

Some nine million documents have been put before the court. One, a 2002 e-mail written by Nvidia senior vice president of marketing, Dan Vivoli, to ATI's president and chief operating officer, Dave Orton said: "I really think we should work harder together on the marketing front. As you and I have talked about, even though we are competitors, we have the common goal of making our category a well positioned, respected playing field. $5 and $8 stocks are a result of no respect."

"A jury would like to see this," the judge remarked.

Complainants against the pair include Microsoft, Dell and Apple amongst others. µ

See Also
Are ATI, Nvidia colluding to cool down graphics war?

 

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