Intel in Deep Shit, Sued by FTC

Gee, these folks at Intel are forever in the news for the wrong reasons.

The Federal Trade Commission sued the chip giant today charging it with using its dominant market position in microprocessors to stifle competition and strengthen its monopoly.

The FTC lawsuit comes barely a few weeks after Intel agreed to pay $1.25 billion to rival AMD to legal disputes.

The FTC complaint alleges that Intel has conducted a systematic campaign to shut out rivals competing microprocessors by cutting off their access to the marketplace and deprived consumers of choice and innovation.

According to the FTC complaint, Intel’s anticompetitive tactics were designed to put the brakes on superior competitive products that threatened its monopoly in microprocessors (the brains of PCs and servers).

FTC is alleging that Intel carried out its anticompetitive campaign using threats and rewards aimed at large PC vendors including  Dell, Hewlett-Packard and IBM, to coerce them into not buying rival microprocessors.

Intel is also alleged to have used a practice described as exclusive or restrictive dealing to prevent computer vendors from marketing any machines with non-Intel computer chips.

According to the FTC’s Bureau of Competition director Richard A. Feinstein:

Intel has engaged in a deliberate campaign to hamstring competitive threats to its monopoly. It’s been running roughshod over the principles of fair play and the laws protecting competition on the merits. The Commission’s action today seeks to remedy the damage that Intel has done to competition, innovation, and, ultimately, the American consumer.

The folks at FTC say Intel is now following a similar anti-competitive strategy with graphics chips.

Intel, of course, put out the customary denial of engaging in illegal practices and claimed it had competed fairly and lawfully.

Intel is being investigated in other regions including Europe, South Korea and Japan. The EU has imposed a $1.45 billion fine on Intel, which the company is appealing.

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