FTC extends Intel antitrust settlement deadline

Federal Trade Commission says the two-week extension gives it "more time to consider a proposed settlement."

The Federal Trade Commission has extended by two weeks its deadline for reaching a settlement with Intel.

The FTC said Wednesday that the extension "allows the Commission more time to consider a proposed settlement." The original order was issued on June 21 and was set to expire this coming Friday. This action extends the withdrawal until 12:01 a.m. on Friday, August 6.

On December 16 of last year, the FTC filed a complaint alleging that Intel had illegally used its dominant market position in microprocessors--also referred to as CPUs or central processing units--for a decade to stifle competition. Intel and the FTC have been trying to settle the case and avert a trial.

The December 16 complaint followed a November settlement between Intel and Advanced Micro Devices in which Intel agreed to pay AMD $1.25 billion to settle their longstanding dispute centered on CPUs.

The FTC complaint broke new ground by alleging that "there also is a dangerous probability that Intel's unfair methods of competition could allow it to extend its monopoly into the GPU (graphic processing unit) chip markets."

While Intel and Advanced Micro Devices have been engaged in CPU-related legal battles for years, the FTC had not addressed the GPU market before the December complaint. Intel and Nvidia are suing each other now over the interpretation of a GPU-related cross-licensing agreement the two signed in 2004.

In May of last year, Intel was ordered to pay a fine of approximately $1.45 billion to the European Commission for alleged antitrust practices in the CPU market.

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