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Intel settles antitrust suit filed by FTC over computer chips

SAN FRANCISCO — Intel Corp. has settled an antitrust lawsuit filed against it by the Federal Trade Commission.

The two sides confirmed the settlement late Tuesday, and the FTC scheduled a news conference for this morning to release details. Neither side would comment further.

With the settlement, which was expected, Intel is sweeping away one of the last reminders of a bitter, years-long campaign by rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc. that caused the world's biggest semiconductor company a world of legal pain.

Advanced Micro Devices helped convince regulators worldwide that Intel's sales tactics harmed consumers and illegally injured rivals. Intel is accused of bullying computer makers into avoiding rivals' chips and sabotaging rivals' attempts to get their chips to work with Intel's.

The FTC suit is the harshest Intel has faced, and with the settlement the FTC could impose the strictest rules yet on Intel, potentially leading to lower prices that people pay for computers.

In the lawsuit filed in December 2009, the FTC accused Intel of wrongdoing in the markets for both central processing units (CPUs) and graphics processing units (GPUs).

Intel owns about 80 percent of the world's market for CPUs — the "brains" of computers. It owns more than 50 percent of the market for GPUs — chips specially designed to make graphics look good on computer screens.

Unlike other antitrust cases against Intel, the settlement with the FTC could mean the biggest set of changes for how Intel does business.

Intel's legal challenges aren't over. It is still fighting a record $1.45 billion antitrust fine in Europe and separate cases in South Korea and New York state.

But so far it appears its beef with Advanced Micro Devices is squashed.

Intel settles antitrust suit filed by FTC over computer chips 08/03/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 3, 2010 8:32pm]
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