FTC, Intel reach partial settlement

The Federal Trade Commission's counsel has reached a partial settlement with Intel Corp. in the antitrust case against the company.

The proposed settlement must still be approved by the Commission, and would still leave some issues to be investigated by the Commission, according to an FTC statement.

The FTC filed charges against Intel on June of last year. The two sides filed a motion with the administrative law judge hearing the case to suspend a hearing on the charges, which was to start tomorrow.

Intel has been accused of withholding critical information about its processors from customers, in order to protect its alleged monopoly hold on the market. Intel has said that the actions were simply part of the business, but the FTC has charged that they constituted illegal antitrust behaviour. The FTC counsel said it expects to submit a proposed settlement to the full Commission within days.

Dan Scovel, semiconductor analyst at Fahnestock & Co. in New York said Intel has had an ongoing image problem that could have negatively affected its trial performance. "In the past years Intel has stumbled badly in PR, the Pentium bug the privacy issue with P3 -- they're not really taking control of the issue from PR perspective."

But Scovel acknowledged that the settlement may be a good PR move for Intel. "One thing we've seen her in the last few years is there seems to be some hope of improving the way [Intel] presents itself in public. They've started to do the things that make them more popular sooner. The settlement may be a step in that direction."


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