SUNNYVALE, Calif. - Competition in the computer chip industry may be moving into the courtroom.

Advanced Micro Devices has filed an antitrust suit against its larger rival Intel.

In a 48-page complaint, AMD claims that Intel "unlawfully" maintained its monopoly in the market for x-86 microprocessors. The x-86 chip runs the operating systems of Microsoft Windows, Sun Microsystems' Solaris and Red Hat's Linux. Apple Computer plans to switch exclusively to x-86 processors to run Mac O-S software beginning in 2006.

In a press release, AMD says Intel engaged in "worldwide coercion" to keep customers from dealing with A-M-D.

The complaint alleges Intel unlawfully maintained its monopoly by forcing major customers such as Dell, Sony, Toshiba, Gateway and Hitachi into Intel-exclusive deals in return for outright cash payments, discriminatory pricing, or marketing subsidies conditioned on the exclusion of AMD.

In a written statement, AMD chief executive Hector Ruiz says "everywhere in the world, customers deserve freedom of choice and the benefits of innovation and these are being stolen away in the microprocessor market."
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