Early settlement will "open the door to competition" says FTC

Intel and FTC reach antitrust compromise

Intel and the Federal Trade Commission have reached an antitrust settlement which places restrictions on Intel’s marketing practices.

The agreement means that Intel has admitted no wrong-doing and will not face stiff financial penalties such as had been levelled at the chipmaker by the EU in similar antitrust proceedings. The FTC, however, was unequivocal that the settlement was the result of Intel’s "systematic campaign to shut out rivals."

"By accepting this settlement, we open the door to competition today and address Intel’s anticompetitive conduct in a way that may not have been available in a final judgment years from now,” said FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz.

The agreement restricts a number of practices Intel had engaged in such as bundled pricing which discouraged manufacturers from using rival products. Interoperability is also addressed in the agreement with Intel being required not to slow down products working with other vendors.

Intel will also be required to maintain PCI Express for six years so makers of rival graphics products will be able to access the CPU and there are provisions to extend licensing such as VIA’s x86 licence, and an agreement not to pursue legal challenges against potential IP exchanges of rival companies. This move makes it more likely that joint ventures and mergers may arise between Intel rivals such as VIA, AMD and Nvidia. 

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