The Federal Trade Commission has sued chip giant Intel, claiming that the company has illegally used its dominant market position for a decade to stifle competition and strengthen its monopoly.
Here's the press release. Here are some highlights:
FTC alleges that Intel has waged a systematic campaign to shut out rivals’ competing microchips by cutting off their access to the marketplace. ... Intel’s anticompetitive tactics were designed to put the brakes on superior competitive products that threatened its monopoly in the CPU microchip market. ... FTC’s administrative complaint charges that Intel carried out its anticompetitive campaign using threats and rewards aimed at the world’s largest computer manufacturers, including Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and IBM, to coerce them not to buy rival computer CPU chips. ... Intel secretly redesigned key software, known as a compiler, in a way that deliberately stunted the performance of competitors’ CPU chips. Intel told its customers and the public that software performed better on Intel CPUs than on competitors’ CPUs, but the company deceived them by failing to disclose that these differences were due largely or entirely to Intel’s compiler design. ... Intel has responded to this competitive challenge by embarking on a similar anticompetitive strategy, which aims to preserve its CPU monopoly by smothering potential competition from GPU chips such as those made by Nvidia, the FTC complaint charges. As part of this latest campaign, Intel misled and deceived potential competitors in order to protect its monopoly. ... FTC is seeking an order which includes provisions that would prevent Intel from using threats, bundled prices, or other offers to encourage exclusive deals, hamper competition, or unfairly manipulate the prices of its CPU or GPU chips. The FTC also may seek an order prohibiting Intel from unreasonably excluding or inhibiting the sale of competitive CPUs or GPUs, and prohibiting Intel from making or distributing products that impair the performance–or apparent performance–of non-Intel CPUs or GPUs.
The claim that Intel has doctored its compiler in order to make its CPUs seem superior to those from AMD is nothing new and was being reported back on 2005.
This is a very interesting note to be ending the year on, because this is going to be quite a legal battle.