Lawsuits can sometimes be pretty ugly ordeals, particularly the long and drawn-out dances making up most anti-trust cases. Often, the start of these proceedings require a "hold" on sensitive information, to prevent it from disappearing during the long trial period. Intel was given one of these hold orders as it defended against its lawsuit from AMD - too bad the company didn't follow it
In a briefing from AMD about the suit, the company's lawyers mentioned that Intel apparently "misplaced" some rather important (i.e. incriminating) emails and other documents related to the case. These documents had been court-ordered to be preserved, as they were part of the evidence behind the lawsuit. Apparently, somewhere amidst all the commotion, Intel forgot to send notices to over 400 employees involved and request that they archive their mail. Oops.
Of course, AMD does not go so far as to say that it happened maliciously. Instead, the company blames bad communication, poor oversight, and complete data-retention incompetence. "Though all the facts are not in, potentially massive amounts of e-mail correspondence generated and received by Intel executives and employees since the filing of the lawsuit may be irretrievably lost, as may other relevant electronic documents,"
the company said in its briefing.
Intel has acknowledged that it may not have been as fastidious in its data retention as it had outlined that it would be in July of 2005 (when the court demanded the data be held), and has largely blamed the issue on "simple mistakes" and "human error." Basically, when you're a huge, multi-national corporation responsible for a tremendous amount of the world's digital infrastructure, some things just get lost. Terrific document retention and control policies, here we come.
Though it failed to notify some very key (who just ended up unnotified absolutely at random, of course) employees whatsoever, it "over-notified" others who weren't even on the list, and promised that these new people "continue to be a potential source of documents if necessary." Not the documents that pertain to the case, but who's worried about that?
Somehow, I doubt that will be of any consolation to AMD's lawyers, who may have a pretty big fight on their hands. Intel's lawyers are, of course, incredibly apologetic for the incident. In the meantime, The Inquirer's very own Spinola Offsite Data Storage (SODS)
has a copy that people can use to read some of the lost mail, if you're interested. (note: this very last bit is a joke, please don't yell at us or The Inq...but come on, it's funny - Ed.)
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