US trade body and Intel settle over anti-competitive pricing case

5 August 2010

5 August 2010 | Lindsay Clark

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has settled its case against microprocessor manufacturer Intel.

The settlement would help restore competition that was lost as a result of Intel’s alleged past anti-competitive tactics, the FTC said. At the same time, the settlement would leave the company room to innovate and offer competitive pricing, it added.

Intel said the settlement agreement expressly states that it does not admit either any violation of law or that the facts alleged in the complaint are true.

FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz said: “By accepting this settlement, we open the door to competition today and address Intel’s anti-competitive conduct in a way that may not have been available in a final judgment years from now.”

The FTC settlement applies to a range of chips supplied to computer manufacturers and prohibits Intel from using threats, bundled prices or other offers to exclude or hamper competition or otherwise unreasonably inhibit the sale of competitive processors. The settlement also prohibits Intel from deceiving computer manufacturers about the performance of non-Intel processors.

Doug Melamed, Intel senior vice-president and general counsel, said: “This agreement provides a framework that will allow us to continue to compete and to provide our customers the best possible products at the best prices. The settlement enables us to put an end to the expense and distraction of the FTC litigation.”

The FTC sued Intel in December 2009 alleging that the company used anti-competitive tactics to cut off rivals’ access to the marketplace and deprive consumers of choice and innovation in the microchips that comprise a computer’s central processing unit. The action also challenged Intel’s conduct in markets for graphics processing units and other chips.

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