Intel, FTC in talks to settle antitrust claims

Chip giant and the Federal Trade Commission file a legal motion to suspend trial proceedings.

Intel and the Federal Trade Commission are in settlement talks, according to a statement released by Intel.

Intel made the following statement Monday afternoon: "Lawyers for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Intel Corporation today filed a joint motion to suspend administrative trial proceedings while the parties consider potential settlement of the case originally filed by the FTC on Dec. 16, 2009."

The statement continued: "The motion opens a window through July 22, 2010, during which time the parties will review and discuss a proposed consent order. The terms of the proposed consent order are confidential and Intel will make no additional public comment on the matter at this time."

If a settlement is reached with the FTC, it would obviate the need for a trial slated for September.

Though Intel settled a longstanding antitrust legal dispute with Advanced Micro Devices last year, paying AMD $1.25 billion, the FTC proceeded with a case against the chip giant, filing a complaint in December that alleged that Intel used illegal tactics to strong-arm computer makers--including Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Acer, and IBM--from buying processors from rival AMD. Intel denied the allegations.

The FTC had also begun to explore potentially fertile antitrust ground regarding Intel and graphics chip supplier Nvidia. Intel and Nvidia have been wrangling in court over chipsets.

And, in related news, Dell said earlier this month that CEO Michael Dell and the Securities and Exchange Commission are discussing a settlement relating to Dell's relationship with Intel.

Updated at 6:45 p.m. PDT throughout.

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