Intel under federal microscope over claims of anti-competitive practices
Intel is the undisputed king of the micro-processor industry. Now under investigation for possible anti-competitive practices, it may be wondering if it is too big for its own good. David Usborne in New York examines the threat to the company.
The company, maker of the Pentium line of chips, confirmed that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in Washington had launched a formal investigation into its practices. Subpoenas for documents and relevant information have already been served on both Intel and other players in the industry.
It is the second time that Intel has been put under the federal microscope. An earlier FTC investigation was opened in 1991 but dropped two years later. In the meantime, the other big brother of the industry, Microsoft, has itself been under investigation since 1993.
The FTC informed Intel that it was looking into whether the company, headed by Andy Grove, was "acting to monopolise, attempt to monopolise, or otherwise restrict price or non-price competition in the development or sale of microprocessors or other computer components or related intellectual property".
While the launching of the investigation by no means guarantees eventual punitive action, it none the less casts a shadow across Intel, which will doubtless feel obliged to tone down its marketing practices pending an outcome. Shares in Intel were off slightly in morning trading in New York.
Scrutiny will focus in part on Intel's long-standing arrangements with many PC manufacturers whereby it pays a portion of their advertising costs if they agree to display the Intel logo or mention the familiar "Intel Inside" mantra as part of their spots.
To have opened the inquiry, the FTC must have received a formal complaint about Intel from a rival. "There is no shortage of people who could be behind it, " Linley Wennap, editor of the newsletter, Microprocessor Report, suggested yesterday. "At this point, Intel is the major supplier of virtually any semiconductor technology to the personal computer market".
It may stem from a nasty feud that has been under way for some months between Intel and Digital Equipment. Digital has accused Intel of stealing technology used in its own Digital Alpha microprocessor. In turn, Intel sued Digital asking for the return of documents giving technical details on its next generation of Pentium chips.
- 1 Autistic adults could take pure MDMA to 'reduce social anxiety'
- 2 Before you complain about your GP, this is what you need to know about actually doing the job
- 3 Father of 12 accused of raping, beating, starving and abusing his own children in US 'cult'
- 4 Britain's Got Talent 2015: Jamie Raven divides Twitter as fans expose mind-boggling magic trick
- 5 Charlie Charlie Challenge explained: not a Mexican demon being summoned — it's gravity
People are criticising Fifa World Cup sponsors with corrupt corporate logos
Natalie Portman tells Harvard graduates: 'Accept your lack of knowledge'
British tourists complain impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Fifa corruption live: Sebb Blatter warns 'more bad news may follow' as he clings to power
Skull found in Spain could be the world's first-ever murder victim
EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Australian man punched in the face for defending Muslim women from abuse on train
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people
David Starkey 'tells Amal Clooney to shut up and stop over-promoting human rights'
EU referendum: David Cameron to deny EU migrants and under-18s the chance to vote
iJobs Money & Business
£30 - 35k: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pricing Analyst to join a leading e-...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K YR1: SThree: At SThree, we like to be dif...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Did you know? SThree is a mul...
£55 - 65k (DOE): Guru Careers: A unique opportunity for a permanent C# Develop...