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FTC to spell out Intel settlement

The Federal Trade Commission will detail the terms of an antitrust settlement with the chip giant on Wednesday.

The Federal Trade Commission said Tuesday it will announce an antitrust settlement with Intel on Wednesday morning.

FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz will detail the settlement along with Bureau of Competition Director Richard Feinstein Wednesday at 7 a.m. PDT.

The commission's order will settle charges that "Intel Corporation used anticompetitive tactics that stifled innovation and harmed consumers in the market for computer microprocessors, graphics processing units, and chipsets," according to an FTC statement Tuesday. "The FTC's complaint, filed in December 2009, charged Intel with waging a systematic campaign to shut out rivals' competing microchips by cutting off their access to the marketplace, and harming consumers."

A settlement is expected to avert a trial that had been slated for September.

Though Intel settled a longstanding antitrust legal dispute with Advanced Micro Devices last year by paying its chip rival $1.25 billion, the FTC proceeded with a case against the chip giant, filing a complaint in December that alleged 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 has also been exploring potential antitrust ground regarding Intel and graphics chip supplier Nvidia. Intel and Nvidia have been wrangling in court over chipsets.

And in a related development, when the Securities and Exchange Commission recently levied a $100 million fine on Dell, the SEC complaint delved into allegations of a long, symbiotic relationship between Dell and Intel, saying that Dell was a recipient of massive, multibillion-dollar, multiyear Intel payments in order to keep Dell from adopting processors from Advanced Micro Devices.