The Federal Trade Commission settlement with Intel on Wednesday focused on the chipmaker's exclusionary business practices while also trying to ensure vigorous competition in the graphics chip business.
Citing "Intel's disturbing behavior," the tone of the FTC's allegations in Tuesday's decision weren't very different from the language used in the lawsuit brought by Advanced Micro Devices against Intel in 2005. And many of the restrictions placed on Intel's business practices are similar to those reached with AMD in a $1.25 billion settlement in November.
What is different, however, is that the FTC decision has the weight of the federal government behind it. Moreover, the commission can challenge any harmful anitcompetitive practice Intel may engage in the future, even if not specifically prohibited by the proposed consent order, the FTC said Wednesday.
The FTC order is big on keeping Intel honest. Under the settlement, Intel will be prohibited from cutting deals with customers that prevents them from buying chips from rivals such as AMD. And Intel will be prevented from retaliating--as has been alleged most recently by the Securities and Exchanged Commission--against customers for straying from the Intel fold and doing business with non-Intel suppliers.
"Evidence shows that Intel refused to sell chips to some buyers, unless they agreed to limit, or in a few cases, entirely stopped buying chips… Read more