Intel settles FTC charges of anti-competitive conduct

Intel settles FTC charges of anti-competitive conduct

New York: Global computer chip major Intel has reached at a settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission to resolve the anti-competitive charges against it and agreed to follow series of restrictions.

“Intel has agreed to provisions that will open the door to renewed competition and prevent Intel from suppressing competition in the future," the FTC statement said.

The settlement prohibits Intel from using threats, bundled prices or other offers to hamper competition and prevent computer makers from buying Central Processing Units (CPU), Graphics Processing Units (GPU) and chipsets from competitors.

The settlement also prohibits the chip maker from deceiving computer manufacturers about the performance of non-Intel CPUs or GPUs, the statement added.

However, the settlement leaves enough leeway for Intel to innovate and offer competitive pricing, it added.

“This case demonstrates that the FTC is willing to challenge anti competitive conduct by even the most powerful companies in the fastest-moving industries," FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said.

“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 ... it allows all the companies in this dynamic industry to move ahead and build better, more innovative products," Leibowitz added.

The FTC had 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.

These chips are critical components that often are referred to as the ‘brain´ of a computer.

The settlement also requires Intel to modify its intellectual property agreements with its main rival AMD, and Taiwan-based microprocessor maker Via Technologies Inc. and Nvidia Corp, which specialises in graphics chips.

These companies would have more freedom to consider mergers or joint ventures with other companies, without the threat of being sued by Intel for patent infringement, it said.

The FTC order is be subject to public comment for 30 days, until 7 September, 2010, after which the Commission would decide whether to make it final.