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Intel Corp. and the Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday settled their dispute over Intel's business practices. Intel agreed not to stifle competitors by providing bundled prices or force its clients to stop working with other. The company will also have to install PCIe controllers into its processors,  the chip giant will not pay a dollar in fine and will still be able not to license its technologies to all the possible third parties.

The FTC settlement applies to central processing units (CPUs), graphics processing units (GPUs) and chipsets and 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. The settlement also prohibits Intel from deceiving computer manufacturers about the performance of non-Intel CPUs or GPUs.

Under the settlement, Intel will be prohibited from:

  • Conditioning benefits to computer makers in exchange for their promise to buy chips from Intel exclusively or to refuse to buy chips from others;
  • Retaliating against computer makers if they do business with non-Intel suppliers by withholding benefits from them.

In addition, the FTC settlement order will require Intel to:

  • Modify its intellectual property agreements with AMD, Nvidia, and Via Technologies so that those companies have more freedom to consider mergers or joint ventures with other companies, without the threat of being sued by Intel for patent infringement;
  • Offer to extend Via’s x86 licensing agreement for five years beyond the current agreement, which expires in 2013;
  • Maintain a key interface, known as the PCI Express, for at least six years in a way that will not limit the performance of graphics processing chips. These assurances will provide incentives to manufacturers of complementary, and potentially competitive, products to Intel’s CPUs to continue to innovate;
  • Disclose to software developers that Intel computer compilers discriminate between Intel chips and non-Intel chips, and that they may not register all the features of non-Intel chips. Intel also will have to reimburse all software vendors who want to recompile their software using a non-Intel compiler.

The FTC sued Intel in December 2009 alleging that the company used anticompetitive tactics to cut off rivals’ access to the marketplace and deprive consumers of choice and innovation in the microchips that comprise computers’ central processing unit. The action also challenged Intel’s conduct in markets for graphics processing units and other chips. The FTC settlement goes beyond those reached in previous antitrust cases against Intel in a number of ways.

“By accepting this settlement, we open the door to competition today and address Intel’s anticompetitive conduct in a way that may not have been available in a final judgment years from now. Everyone, including Intel, gets a greater degree of certainty about the rules of the road going forward, which allows all the companies in this dynamic industry to move ahead and build better, more innovative products," said Jon Leibowitz, the chairman of the FTC.

The settlement agreement expressly states that Intel does not admit either any violation of law or that the facts alleged in the complaint are true. The agreement approved today by the Commission is subject to a 30 day public comment period and final approval by the Commission.

"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," said Doug Melamed, Intel senior vice president and general counsel.

Tags: , Intel, FTC, Business, AMD, Via Technologies, Nvidia, x86

Discussion

Comments currently: 3
Discussion started: 08/04/10 02:32:28 PM
Latest comment: 08/09/10 07:02:27 AM

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1. 
0 0 [Posted by: y eye  | Date: 08/04/10 02:32:28 PM]
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2. 
A slap on the wrist, what more can you expect for america..........owned by big business
0 0 [Posted by: alpha0ne  | Date: 08/09/10 12:16:19 AM]
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3. 
i have to complement the FTC for hitting (almost)all the right issues...
and then curse them for giving 'punishments' that dont actually (force intel to) fix most of those issues.
0 0 [Posted by: Countess  | Date: 08/09/10 07:02:27 AM]
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