Intel Faces US Antitrust Investigation

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced late last week that it is opening a formal investigation into antitrust allegations against microprocessor giant Intel. Previously, the FTC had been conducting an informal investigation.

Intel, of course, says it has done nothing wrong. "The company believes its business practices are well within US law," Intel wrote in a prepared statement. "The evidence that this industry is fiercely competitive and working is compelling." The company pointed to the fact that the price of microprocessors fell over 40 percent between 2000 and 2007.

That said, the FTC action is only one of many antitrust charges the company faces around the world, including an oft-delayed federal case raised by competitor AMD. The South Korean Fair Trade Commission (FTC) coincidentally fined Intel about $20 million for abusing its market power just a day before the US FTC announced its own investigation. And New York state also has an ongoing antitrust investigation of the company, as do Japanese and EU antitrust regulators. Only Microsoft has faced this level of antitrust scrutiny in recent years.

In launching its formal investigation, the FTC served a subpoena against the microprocessor giant last week, and Intel has pledged to cooperate fully. The FTC's informal investigation lasted about two years, and started when AMD filed a complaint alleging that Intel had struck illegal and exclusive deals with PC makers.

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