Intel slammed with anti-comp charges from FTC

Intel has been slapped with anti-competitive suit by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which claims that the company has illegally used its dominant market position for a decade to stifle competition and strengthen its monopoly.

The FTC alleges that Intel has "waged a systematic campaign to shut out rivals' competing microchips by cutting off their access to the marketplace."

The wide-ranging and damaging allegations from the FTC also include claims that the secretly redesigned key software, to deliberately stunt the performance of competitors' chips. It also claims that Intel used a series of threats and rewards to influence the chips computer manufacturers such as Dell, HP and IBM used in their products.

Last month Intel agreed to pay US$1.25 billion (€857m) to  AMD to settle suits relating to its business practices.

The Commission said that its action seek to “remedy the damage that Intel has done to competition, innovation, and, ultimately, the American consumer."

Adding that the vendor had been “running roughshod over the principles of fair play and the laws protecting competition on the merits.”

The FTC suit does not seek monetary damages, but aims to change the company's conduct and set an industry example, the FTC said.

Meanwhile, Microsoft has made peace with the EU and its web browser demands agreeing to allow over 100 million European consumers the option of choosing from 12 web browsers, rather than get Internet Explorer by default.



The agreement, which is effective from March,  officially ends all outstanding antitrust charges lodged by the EU against Microsoft.  The move follows years of lega tussle and a number of fines, as the parties sought to reach an agreement on how to tackle the anti-competitive nature of including Microsoft's Internet Explorer as the default browser on Windows machines
EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes claimed victory against the software giant.
"Millions of European consumers will benefit from this decision by having a free choice about which web browser they use. Such choice will not only serve to improve people's experience of the internet now but also act as an incentive for web browser companies to innovate and offer people better browsers in the future," she said.
From March, European Windows users will see a "Choice Screen" upon launch, asking which of 12 web browsers including Mozilla's Firefox, Apple's Safari and Google's  Chrome.
The EC had stated previously that Microsoft had an "artificial distribution advantage not related to the merits of its product on more than 90% of personal computers. This creates artificial incentives for software developers and content providers to design their products or web sites primarily for Internet Explorer".
The most recent firm to take its complaints to the EC, was Opera,  having first filed anti-trust papers in July 2007. "This is a victory for the future of the web. This decision is also a celebration of open web standards, as these shared guidelines are the necessary ingredients for innovation on the web," said Opera Software CEO Jon von Tetzchner.