FTC Still Eyeing Intel over Nvidia Dispute: Report

FTC investigators are still looking at Intel's business practices, this time relating to the chip maker's ongoing lawsuit with Nvidia, according to a published report. This comes less than a month after Intel and AMD settled their long-standing legal dispute that results in a $1.25 billion Intel payment to AMD.

Intel maybe have settled its legal disputes with rival Advanced Micro Devices, but the giant chip maker apparently is still being investigated by federal regulators.

The Federal Trade Commission reportedly is reviewing Intel's legal wrangling with graphics chip maker Nvidia, which like AMD is claiming anticompetitive behavior by Intel.

Quoting unnamed sources, Bloomberg is saying that investigators are taking a look at the lawsuits Intel and Nvidia filed against each other earlier this year, and in particular whether the lawsuit filed by Intel is an attempt to hurt Nvidia's business.

Intel, which paid AMD $1.25 billion as part of the Nov. 12 settlement, reportedly has met with the FTC investigators over the past few weeks in hopes of getting the agency to call off the investigation in light of the AMD settlement, according to the sources.

Intel this year has been hammered over allegations of anticompetitive behavior centering around AMD. The European Commission in May fined Intel $1.45 billion for using rebates and price discounts to convince OEMs to limit their use of AMD processors in their PCs and servers. Intel is appealing the fine.

In addition, the N.Y. State Attorney General's office filed suit Nov. 4 against Intel alleging that the chip maker used payments and coercion to influence the extent Dell, Hewlett-Packard, IBM and others used AMD products. Intel officials have harshly criticized the lawsuit, calling it biased and a waste of time and money, considering many of the issues raised already were being taken care of in the private lawsuits with AMD.

The trial in the AMD case was set for March 2010 before the settlement was reached. In the agreement, Intel not only paid AMD the money but also promised to not engage in anticompetitive practices.

In the case with Nvidia, Intel in February filed suit in Delaware questioning whether Nvidia had the right to develop chip sets for Intel processors based on the "Nehalem" architecture. The dispute centers around a 2004 agreement that allowed Nvidia to make compatible chips sets for Intel processors. Intel officials said the agreement didn't cover Nehalem or future microarchitectures.