|Federal Trade Commission Sues Intel for Misconduct|
|Written by Brent Kendall - Dow Jones Newswires|
|Wednesday, 16 December 2009|
Federal Trade Commission Sues Intel for Misconduct
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission sued Intel Corp. (INTC) on Wednesday, alleging the chip maker engaged in a decade-long campaign to stifle competition and strengthen its dominant position in the microchip market.
The FTC alleged that Intel coerced the world's largest computer manufacturers, including Dell Inc. (DELL), Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) and International Business Machines Corp. (IBM), not to buy rival computer chips.
The commission alleged Intel also prevented computer makers from marketing any machines with non-Intel chips.
In other allegations, the FTC said Intel secretly redesigned key software in a way that deliberately stunted the performance of competitors' chips.
The commission also said Intel has attempted to smother potential competition in the market for graphics processing units, such as chips made by Nvidia Corp. (NVDA).
Intel's campaign, the commission said, was designed to put the brakes on superior competitive products that threatened Intel's alleged monopoly in the microchip market.
Intel spokesman Chuck Mulloy said the company had just received the lawsuit and was evaluating it. He said Intel would have further comment later Wednesday.
The FTC's lawsuit had been the subject of months of speculation and comes a month after Intel agreed to pay $1.25 billion in a far-reaching legal settlement with rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD).
The commission is seeking an order that would prevent Intel from engaging in a variety of actions the FTC believes are anticompetitive.
The European Union fined Intel a record $1.45 billion in May in connection with alleged anticompetitive behavior. The company is appealing that decision.
Richard A. Feinstein, director of the FTC's Bureau of Competition, said Intel has been "running roughshod over the principles of fair play and the laws protecting competition on the merits."
"The Commission's action today seeks to remedy the damage that Intel has done to competition, innovation, and, ultimately, the American consumer," he said.
Nvidia applauded the FTC's action, saying, "We are particularly pleased to see scrutiny being placed on Intel's behavior toward GPUs, which have become an increasingly important part of the PC industry."
AMD declined to comment.
The FTC brought its charges against Intel in an administrative lawsuit filed under the Federal Trade Commission Act.
Source: Brent Kendall - Dow Jones Newswires