SAN FRANCISCO—A special master reviewing an antitrust case against Intel Corp. brought by computer users recommended rejecting the plaintiffs' request for class action status, Intel said Thursday (July 29).
Under court rules, the special master's recommendation will become the court's ruling unless the plaintiffs object within 21 days, Intel (Santa Clara, Calif.) said.
The recommendation comes more four years after plaintiffs filed a complaint against Intel, accusing the company of wrongfully offering discounts to computer manufacturers.
Among other findings, the special master "held that the class plaintiffs had failed to show that Intel's discounts had harmed consumers," according to a statement issued by Intel.
I don't believe Intel and the FTC have reached a firm settlement, though they reportedly have a deal basically in place. They recently extended the deadline for a settlement until Aug. 6.
In any case I'm not sure how big a role that settlement would have played here. The judge decided that these plaintiffs--a bunch of people who said Intel's tactics resulted in them paying more for their PCs--do not meet the requirements for being considered a "class." One of the reasons (there are several of them in the 110 page document) the judge cited is that class certification is appropriate only where the primary relief being sought is declaratory or injunctive, whereas these plaintiffs were primarily seeking monetary damages.
Intel already reached a settlement with regulators on similar complaints brought by rival microprocessor vendor Advanced Micro Devices. This may partly explain why the planned lawsuit is being dismissed.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.