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Yet another Intel antitrust probe

Oh no, not another antitrust probe of the chip giant. Doesn't this stuff ever get old?

Here we go again. This time it was New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo who ceremoniously launched an investigation into monopolistic practices by Intel.

"Our investigation is focused on determining whether Intel has improperly used monopoly power to exclude competitors or stifle innovation," Cuomo said in a statement.

The competitors in question are AMD, AMD, and of course, AMD.

In 2005, AMD continued its longstanding policy of publicly whining about Intel with a lawsuitalleging anticompetitive practices by its Silicon Valley neighbor.

In addition, Europe, South Korea, and Japan are currently in the midst of antitrust investigations into AMD's longtime nemesis.

In a statement, Sen. Charles E. Schumer of New York said, "Antitrust investigations into Intel are springing up everywhere except Washington. It's high time the FTC woke up and started looking into practices that are harming American consumers and technological innovation."

Wrong. The Federal Trade Commission spent years investigating Intel through most of the '90s. The investigation turned into a formal complaint but ended in an "Order Withdrawing Matter From Adjudication," also known as "Sorry we wasted all of your time, but we've got bupkis, zilch, nada."

Although it dominates the market for personal computer microprocessors, Intel has consistently managed to elude conviction for anticompetitive practices. The chip giant's policies and actions related to such matters have to-date remained on the right side of the law. That's probably a result of the teachings of super-paranoid ex-chief Andy Grove.

You might want to check out an excellent story about Intel's sales practices by none other than CNET editor at large Michael Kanellos here.

I, for one, remain skeptical that Intel will actually get caught crossing that fine antitrust line. But who knows; maybe this time it'll be different. After all, anything can happen in a courtroom. Just ask the other half of the Wintel duopoly--Microsoft.