Intel in Talks to Settle U.S. Antitrust Probe

The FTC had accused Intel of using 'threats and rewards' with major computer makers such as Dell, Hewlett-Packard and IBM to coerce them not to buy chips produced by rival companies.

Intel said on June 21 that it was in talks with U.S. antitrust watchdogs on a settlement to a probe into whether the computer chipmaker has illegally monopolized the market.

Intel said that lawyers for the company and the Federal Trade Commission "filed a joint motion to suspend administrative trial proceedings while the parties consider potential settlement of the case originally filed by the FTC on December 16, 2009."

The motion "opens a window through July 22, 2010, during which time the parties will review and discuss a proposed consent order."

Intel said the terms of the possible deal "are confidential and Intel will make no additional public comment on the matter at this time."

In December, the U.S. government accused the world's biggest computer chipmaker of illegally using its market power to stifle competition. The FTC alleged at the time that Intel, which has been facing similar charges in Europe and Asia, has waged a systematic campaign for a decade to shut out competing microchips produced by rivals by cutting off their access to the marketplace.

Intel produces some 80% of the microprocessors used in the world's personal computers, but has settled its dispute with U.S. rival Advanced Micro Devices.

The FTC had accused Intel of using "threats and rewards" with major computer makers such as Dell, Hewlett-Packard and IBM to coerce them not to buy chips produced by rival companies.

European Union antitrust regulators fined Intel a record $1.45 billion last year, claiming it abused its stranglehold on the semiconductor market to crush AMD.

Intel last year also challenged an $18 million fine imposed by South Korea's antitrust watchdog.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

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