Intel, FTC Settle Antitrust Case: Report

Intel and the Federal Trade Commission reportedly have reached a settlement in the agency's lawsuit against Intel. The deal would not include a regulatory fine, but would monitor Intel's business practices in the future.

Intel reportedly has reached a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, which in December sued the giant chip maker over business practices regulators said unfairly stifled competition.

According to a July 19 report by Reuters that quoted an unnamed source close to the FTC, the proposed settlement would not include a monetary fine of Intel, but would force the company to extend changes in marketing behavior outlined in a previous settlement with rival Advanced Micro Devices to the graphics chip space.

In addition, the deal would put limitations on how Intel uses volume discounts for both computing and graphics chips.

The proposed settlement comes a month after the two sides agreed to suspend legal proceedings to give lawyers for Intel and the FTC room to negotiate a settlement. The deadline was set for July 22. Now that a proposed one is in place, the full commission must vote to accept the deal. If that happens, it will then go out for public comment.

The FTC was only the latest regulatory agency to take a run at Intel for allegedly abusing its dominant position in the x86 chip market to unfairly shut out competitive products from AMD.

South Korean and Japanese regulators fined Intel several years ago for alleged monopolistic behavior, and the European Commission fined Intel $1.45 billion last year for similar reasons.

Later in the year, both the FTC and the New York State Attorney General's Office sued Intel, claiming that the company's antitrust behavior was unfairly keeping competition out of the market.

Intel allegedly used coerced OEMs, including Dell, Hewlett-Packard, IBM and others, to limit their use of AMD products. In addition, the FTC also said Intel was using the same practices in the burgeoning GPU market to hinder competition from Nvidia, and that Intel had altered some of its technologies so that they hurt the performance of products from AMD.

Intel also is being sued by Nvidia, and late last year settled its legal issues with AMD in a deal that includes a $1.25 billion payout to AMD and a promise to not engage in anti-competitive behaviors.

Intel executives have denied that they engaged in such business practices, saying that while they have been aggressive in the market, they also have been fair.