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Intel, FTC Settle Antitrust Case

Intel and the FTC have reached a settlement on the antitrust lawsuit brought against the chip manufacturing giant, alleging anticompetitive practices; Intel must now make various concessions to level the playing field.
Intel and the Federal Trade Commission have reached a settlement on the antitrust lawsuit the FTC brought against the chip-manufacturing giant, alleging anticompetitive practices. Under the terms of the settlement, Intel -- which provides chips for the majority of gaming and other PCs in the marketplace -- does not provide any acknowledgment that it broke any laws, or that the claims made in the FTC's lawsuit are valid, but it does make for a number of allowances intended to level the playing field for rival chip makers like AMD and graphics card maker Nvidia. For example, Intel is required to give graphics card makers full access to its CPU's PCI Express bus for the next six years, keeping Intel from intentionally obstructing the performance of rival companies' products. Intel is also required to modify its IP licensing deals with AMD, Nvidia, and VIA, such that those companies can collaborate on projects, or potentially merge, without fear of legal reprisal from Intel. Intel must additionally disclose to developers that its own compiler software benefits Intel CPUs, and does not take full advantage of competitors' CPUs; the company must refund developers who want to compile their software with competing compilers. FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz has accused Intel of intentionally writing its compiler such that it makes non-Intel CPUs seem slower. "We are all looking forward to a more competitive landscape," Leibowitz said in a conference call following the settlement announcement today. The settlement was approved in a 4-0 vote.

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