MANHASSET, N.Y. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission said Wednesday (Dec. 16) it is suing Intel Corp., charging that the chip maker has for a decade illegally used its dominant market position to stifle competition and strengthen its monopoly.
The FTC also alleged that Intel may have redesigned its software to degrade the performance of rival chips.
The FTC complaint alleges that Intel has deprived consumers of choice and innovation in microprocessors through a systematic campaign to shut out competing chipssuch as those from rival AMD.
Intel (Santa Clara, Calif.) issued a statement in response to the FTC's complaint, saying that the company has competed fairly and lawfully and that its actions have benefited consumers. Intel further said the FTC's case is misguided and based largely on claims that the FTC added at the last minute and has not investigated. The complaint is not based on existing law but is instead intended to make new rules for regulating business conduct, Intel said.
"Intel has engaged in a deliberate campaign to hamstring competitive threats to its monopoly," said Richard A. Feinstein, director of the FTC's Bureau of Competition, in a statement. "It's been running roughshod over the principles of fair play and the laws protecting competition on the merits."
Intel has been charged with anticompetitive behavior by other governments. The company continues to appeal a record $1.58 billion fine levied by the European Commission in May. Last month, New York's attorney general filed a federal antitrust lawsuit against Intel, alleging that the company had violated state and federal anti-monopoly laws. Intel also agreed last month to pay AMD $1.25 billion to settle long-running antitrust litigation and patent disputes between the two companies.
The FTC's complaint also charges that Intel carried out an anticompetitive campaign using threats and rewards to prevent computer makers from marketing any machines with non-Intel computer chips.
In addition, the agency alleged that Intel secretly redesigned its compiler software in a way that deliberately stunted the performance of competitors' CPU chips. Intel told its customers that software performed better on Intel CPUs than on competitors' CPUs, but the company failed to disclose that the differences were due largely or entirely to Intel's compiler design, according to the FTC.