Intel says FTC suit "misguided"

10:50, December 17, 2009      

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Intel Corp. on Wednesday responded to the new antitrust charges filed by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), saying the case is "misguided."

"Intel has competed fairly and lawfully," the company said in a statement. "The FTC's case is misguided. It is based largely on claims that the FTC added at the last minute and has not investigated."

"In addition, it is explicitly not based on existing law but is instead intended to make new rules for regulating business conduct. These new rules would harm consumers by reducing innovation and raising prices," the statement added.

The FTC filed the suit on Wednesday. The new charges include an alleged manipulation in the market for graphics processing units, which are used for video and other images. So far, Intel only faced charges regarding central processing units (CPUs).

"This case could have, and should have, been settled. Settlement talks had progressed very far but stalled when the FTC insisted on unprecedented remedies -- including the restrictions on lawful price competition and enforcement of intellectual property rights set forth in the complaint -- that would make it impossible for Intel to conduct business," Intel senior vice president and general counsel Doug Melamed said.

"The FTC's rush to file this case will cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars to litigate issues that the FTC has not fully investigated. It is the normal practice of antitrust enforcement agencies to investigate the facts before filing suit. The Commission did not do that in this case," said Melamed.

The FTC suit came after Intel announced it would pay 1.25 billion U.S. dollars to settle its long-running disputes with its rival Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) in November. The giant chip maker is also appealing a record 1.06-billion-euro (1.45 billion U.S. dollars) fine from the European Commission, which also ordered it to halt rebates and other practices used to squeeze out AMD.

The company also faces separate cases in New York state and an 18.6-million-dollar fine in the Republic of Korea.

Meanwhile, Microsoft Corp., another antitrust target, heard some good news on Wednesday. The European Commission agreed to drop all remaining charges against Microsoft over the tying of IE to Windows after the company agreed to allow users to choose from a menu of Web browsers that compete with IE in Windows operating system.

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