Intel back in the hot seat, sued by FTC over "anticompetitive tactics"

By on December 16, 2009, 1:41 PM
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed suit against Intel today, accusing the chip-maker of engaging in a decade-long run of anticompetitive practices. The FTC claims Intel used bullying tactics and bribes to steer computer makers such as Dell, HP and others away from superior rival products. This echoes other recent cases that led to a $1.25 billion settlement with AMD and a $1.45 billion fine in Europe.

What's more, the FTC says the company is now abusing its market dominance to stifle competitors in the GPU market -- namely Nvidia, which has publicly accused Intel of foul play. According to Nvidia, Intel has deliberately misinterpreted its chipset license to prohibit the GPU-maker from producing chipsets for any Intel processor with an integrated memory controller -- or nearly all of the company's new CPUs. This is in addition to Intel allegedly keeping Nvidia's Ion out of netbooks through unfair bundling prices on Atom and chipset combos.

The FTC noted that it isn't seeking monetary damages from Intel. "We are frankly more focused on conduct," said Richard Feinstein, director of the FTC's bureau of competition. The case also isn't a direct antitrust suit, and only accuses Intel of violating competition and monopoly rules under Section 5 of the FTC Act, which is "broader" than antitrust laws. Also, unlike an antitrust violation, breaching Section 5 cannot be used to establish liability for plaintiffs to seek triple damages from Intel in private litigation.

User Comments: 10

Got something to say? Post a comment
Se7enVII said:

Well I'm hoping with all the recent light that has been shed about Intel that AMD will finally be able to compete on even ground. More competition = consumer win!

paynetrain007 said:

and maybe AMD can get some better technology on their boards. Yay fairness

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Yay fairness but the thing is Intel are not being fair. AMD does have some good tech, if you have £80 to spend on a CPU I promise an AMD CPU would beat an Intel one any day! what intel has been doing is charging companys basically nothing for the chipset for these bad proccessors then forcing them a contract for that price so they have t buy a huge amount of them! basically force feeding a baby dirt. I hope Intel gets what coming to them. I don't think FTC would lightly make those aligations against the worlds biggest chip maker!

compdata compdata, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Hopefully this opens the door to more competition by AMD. I agree that More competition = consumer win!

Guest said:

Let the chips fall where they may. Sorry, I coudn't resist that.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

This is an old story with a new twist... Intel has always run the ragged edge of the gray area between savvy marketing and coercive thug. If somebody starts making inroads that might compromise their absolute dominance in a market, they pull out all the stops to cut the legs out from under that competition, and generally don't stop until some legal leash is yanked.

Part of the funny stuff in this suit is that it almost boils down to this: The FTC doesn't want money, they just want Intel to agree to certain restrictions, which basically prevent Intel from discounting any of their products. The part that concerns me is that this would likely push prices up for the consumer in general.

Puiu Puiu said:

It's not like they don't have the money to pay the fine. They won 2x what they're paying now.

BrownPaper said:

Intel is just getting a slap on the wrist from what they did during the Pentium 4 vs. AMD Athlon 64 era. Athlon 64 was the superior product by far but Intel used its size and coerced OEMs into shutting AMD out of the market.

I just wonder how much the Feds are going to punish Intel.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

I suspected this may be the case in netbooks. Via's Nano processor deserves to be in more than a couple netbooks.

license27kill license27kill said:

so intel has this all up to now huh... pity those gpu companies like nvidia.. most news ive been hearing is about nvida vs. intel always.. if they know they are such big profit company.. well i hope they will stay at it.. they should be contented not destroying the image of other company.. im really pissed off @intel..

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.