Rare ruling favors Intel pricing policy

A preliminary ruling rejected a claim that Intel's pricing practices hurt consumers.

A preliminary ruling found that Intel's pricing practices did not hurt consumers, snapping a long legal losing streak for the chipmaker.

In a 112 page opinion, a special master for the U.S. District Court in Delaware recommended that the court deny class action status to plaintiffs seeking damages resulting from Intel pricing practices that, the plaintiffs alleged, "severely limit" PC makers from purchasing processors from Intel's competitors.

The "purposes and effect" was to exclude Advanced Micro Devices from the market, resulting in higher prices, according the plaintiffs.

Rejecting these allegations, Special Master Vincent Poppiti said PC makers "had discretion" in deciding how to implement Intel's pricing policies and that pricing decisions--including discounts that may benefit consumers--are made throughout the distribution chain, not just by PC makers.

Under the court's rules, the recommendation will become the court's ruling unless the plaintiffs object within 21 days. The plantiffs' attorney could not immediately be reached for comment.

Intel has been accused of illegal antitrust behavior by AMD and by legal bodies worldwide, including those in Japan, South Korea, and Europe. The resulting rulings, generally, have not been in Intel's favor. Intel is currently trying to settle with the Federal Trade Commission with a deadline of 12:01 a.m. on Friday, August 6.

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