The FTC had been focusing on Intel's relationship
with computer makers Intergraph, Digital Equipment, and Compaq, alleging
that Intel threatened to withhold crucial
technical information from the companies unless they licensed their
intellectual property in ways that benefited Intel.
Intel doesn't deny taking action against the three companies but says it
violated no laws.
Intel chief executive Andy Grove meets with Jim Meadlock, Intergraph CEO,
and persuades him to adopt Intel chips for future Intergraph
workstations. Like most workstation vendors at the time,
Intergraph was using its own processors.
The FTC launches an investigation into Intel business practices.
Intergraph, a second-tier workstation manufacturer, starts to use Intel
chips exclusively in its workstations, becoming the first traditional
workstation vendor to do so.
Intel expands its microprocessor business by more aggressively marketing
chipsets and motherboards. In November, Compaq sues Packard Bell, alleging
that the Intel motherboards inside Packard Bell computers infringe Compaq
patents. Intel eventually becomes a defendant in the case.
The FTC notifies Intel CEO Grove that it found no evidence of any
violations and suspends investigation.
Intel introduces the Pentium Pro chip, aimed at servers and workstations.
Digital Equipment later claims the chip infringes 10 of its patents
associated with its Alpha processor.
In May, Intel becomes a defendant in Compaq's patent infringement suit
against Packard Bell and withholds early technical information Compaq needs
to design computers around Intel chips.
In January, after lengthy negotiations, Intel and Compaq sign a
cross-license agreement, which gives Intel rights to Compaq's motherboard
designs. Compaq settles its lawsuit with Packard Bell.
By mid-year, Intel enters into routine discussions with Intergraph and
other computer makers concerning the forthcoming AGP bus used for graphics
capabilities. As part of the discussions, Intel asks Intergraph to license
certain technologies. The FTC and Intergraph allege that the companies'
working relationship suffers as a result.
In December, Intergraph notifies major OEMs that Intel technology
incorporated into their machines may infringe Intergraph's patents
In spring, formal cross-licensing negotiations between Intel and Intergraph
start but steadily deteriorate. Intel
allegedly presses for a royalty-free license. When talks break down, Intel
withholds from Intergraph advance information on its products and
microprocessor bugs. Intergraph delays the release of some workstations,
which it blames on Intel.
In November, Intergraph sues Intel in federal court for patent
infringement and unfair business practices. A month later, Intergraph
amends its complaint to include antitrust claims.
On a separate front, Digital in May sues Intel in federal court, alleging
Intel's Pentium Pro infringes 10 Digital patents.
Later in the year, the companies settle the
suit by entering into a complex agreement, which includes a cross-license.
In September, the FTC formally launches a broad investigation into Intel,
resulting in the filing of an antitrust action eight months later.
In April, a federal judge hearing Intergraph's lawsuit against
Intel issues a preliminary injunction that includes the extraordinary
holding that advanced product information and samples are "essential" to
Intergraph's business. The order requires Intel to furnish Intergraph with
the information while the case continues. Intel appeals.
In June, the FTC files a narrow antitrust action alleging that Intel is a
monopolist that illegally used its dominance to force Intergraph, Digital,
and Compaq to license their intellectual property.
Days later, Intel countersues Intergraph for patent infringement.
Start of FTC trial is pushed back several times.
March 8: Preliminary agreement reached, one day before trial was scheduled to start.