FDC sues chipmaker for "smothering" competition

Intel faces fresh lawsuit

US antitrust regulators have filed a lawsuit against Intel for allegedly engaging in a “systematic campaign” to stifle competition.

The action by the Federal Trade Commission is the latest legal case against the chip giant, which has been accused of engaging in anti-competitive behaviour worldwide.

The FTC alleges that Intel has “waged a systematic campaign to shut out rivals’ competing microchips by cutting off their access to the marketplace” by threatening and offering bribes to computer manufacturers including Dell, Hewlett-Packard and IBM in order to coerce them into not buying chips by rivals such as AMD.

“Intel has engaged in a deliberate campaign to hamstring competitive threats to its monopoly,” said Richard Feinstein, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition. “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 company is also accused of deliberately manipulating software to perform worse with competitors’ chips, as well as “smothering potential competition” from firms such as Nvidia.

In November New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo launched a federal lawsuit against Intel, alleging that the company conducted a “worldwide, systematic campaign of illegal conduct” to maintain its monopoly of the microprocessor market. Like the FTC, Cuomo accused Intel of bribing and threatening computer in exchange for exclusive contracts over rival chipmaker AMD.

Commenting on the FTC’s lawsuit, Attorney General Cuomo said: “I applaud today’s action by the FTC against Intel, which has repeatedly engaged in unfair practices and has used its monopoly power to maintain a stranglehold on this vital marketplace. The FTC’s action reinforces the allegations we made in our lawsuit against Intel and adds momentum to the effort to stop Intel’s illegal activities and restore competition to the market.”

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