FTC Extends Intel Deadline to Aug. 6

 
 
By Jeffrey Burt  |  Posted 2010-07-22
 
 
 

The Federal Trade Commission will take at least another two weeks to work on a settlement with Intel over antitrust issues.

Commissioners in a statement July 20 said they needed more time to considered a proposed settlement hammered out by lawyers for both sides. Reports of the proposed settlement began to surface July 19.

The FTC in December sued Intel for what regulators said are business practices designed to unfairly stifle competition from the likes of rival Advanced Micro Devices and graphics chip maker Nvidia.

The FTC's charges mirror those from other U.S. agencies as well as overseas organizations, such as the European Commission. The FTC has accused Intel of coercing OEMs, including Dell and Hewlett-Packard, into limiting their use of AMD technologies in their products. The charges date back several years.

Unlike other regulatory bodies, the FTC also said that Intel has used similar practices in dealing with competition from Nvidia. The anticompetitive practices range from giving systems makers rebates or payments to altering some Intel technologies so that they hindered the performance of AMD products.

Intel officials have denied accusations from the FTC as well as other agencies. They admit to being aggressive, but say they do so within the limits of the law.

According to several reports, lawyers for the FTC and Intel have hammered out a proposed settlement that would not result in a fine of the giant chip maker, but instead would monitor Intel's business practices to ensure no laws are violated.

In June, the two sides agreed to suspend litigation in order to give them time to work on a settlement. The deadline to reach an agreement was to expire July 23. The FTC has now pushed that to Aug. 6.

Intel holds a dominant position in the x86 processor market, and has been accused over the years of using that dominance to unfairly stifle competition from AMD. Several years ago, regulators in both Japan and South Korean leveled such accusations.

Last year, the EC, which is the antitrust arm of the European Union, fined Intel $1.45 billion, a fine that Intel has appealed. In September 2009, the N.Y. Attorney General's Office filed suit against Intel.

Later last year, Intel and AMD reached a settlement in their long-running legal dispute that included Intel paying AMD $1.25 billion, though Intel executives did not admit to any wrongdoing.

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