Chipmaker Intel settles FTC antitrust lawsuit

Intel core i7 processor Intel had called the FTC case "misguided"

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US chipmaker Intel has settled an antitrust lawsuit filed against it by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Charges that Intel had "illegally stifled competition" have been resolved, the FTC said.

Intel had been accused of "a systematic campaign to shut out rivals's competing microchips by cutting off their access to the marketplace".

Intel is the world's largest chipmaker, making 80% of the microprocessors for the world's personal computers.

There were no details on any money changing hands as a result of the settlement.

'Renewed competition'

Intel had been accused of bullying computer makers into avoiding rivals' chips. The practice was said to be harmful to consumers.

It had also been alleged the chip giant had sabotaged rivals' attempts to get their chips to work with Intel's, in what the FTC had said was a deliberate move to "hamstring" competitors.

Announcing the resolution of its action, the FTC said: "Intel has agreed to provisions that will open the door to renewed competition and prevent Intel from suppressing competition in the future."

The FTC said its settlement applied to central processing units (CPUs), graphics processing units (GPUs) and chipsets.

The resolution also prohibits Intel from "using threats, bundled prices, or other offers to exclude or hamper competition or otherwise unreasonably inhibit the sale of competitive CPUs or GPUs".

In addition, the settlement "prohibits Intel from deceiving computer manufacturers about the performance of non-Intel CPUs or GPUs".

At the time when the action was launched, in December 2009, Intel said the FTC's case was "misguided".

Other actions

In November 2009 Intel settled a dispute with US rival Advanced Micro Devices (AMD).

Intel paid AMD $1.25bn (£m787m) as part of a deal to settle all outstanding legal disputes between the two companies.

The two firms said the settlement covered all anti-trust litigation and patent disputes.

In December the New York attorney general also launched a lawsuit against Intel.

In that case, New York attorney general Andrew Cuomo accused Intel of using "illegal threats" to dominate microchip sales.

Intel is also still fighting a record $1.45bn antitrust fine in Europe and a separate case in South Korea.

In July Intel announced net profit of $2.9bn for the three months to 26 June, against a loss of $398m a year before.

And revenue for the period was $10.8bn, as a result of what the company called "strong corporate demand".

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