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Intel and antitrust: A brief history
- — 17 December, 2009 07:03
The Federal Trade Commission's antitrust lawsuit against Intel marks the latest development in one of several antitrust cases that have dogged the world's largest chip maker for years. Here's a rundown of Intel's brushes with antitrust investigators and lawsuits around the world since 1990:
Dec. 19: Microprocessor maker Cyrix filed an antitrust lawsuit against Intel in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Texas. "Intel has engaged in a campaign of unlawful exclusionary practices to protect its coprocessor monopoly from competition by Cyrix," the company said in a statement.
June 29: The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) informed Intel that it was investigating the company's business practices.
Aug. 20: Advanced Micro Devices brought a $2 billion antitrust lawsuit against Intel in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California, alleging that Intel "engaged in unlawful acts designed to secure and maintain a monopoly."
Dec. 19: U.S. District Court Judge James Ware dismissed part of AMD's antitrust lawsuit against Intel because a four-year statute of limitations had passed for some actions listed in AMD's complaint. AMD declared its intention to press forward with the lawsuit anyway.
May 28: Processor maker Chips and Technologies sued Intel for antitrust violations in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California. The claims were a response to a February 1992 patent lawsuit filed by Intel.
Feb. 4: Chips and Technologies agreed to dismiss its 1992 antitrust claims against Intel as part of a settlement to resolve a patent dispute between the two companies.
July 15: The FTC completed its investigation into Intel's business practices, saying no evidence was found to support charges of anticompetitive behavior.
Feb. 4: Cyrix dismissed its 1990 antitrust claims against Intel as part of a patent-dispute settlement between the two companies.
Jan. 11: AMD and Intel announced a broad legal settlement that ended several court cases between the two companies, including the 1991 antitrust lawsuit filed by AMD.
Aug. 27: The FTC requested additional information from Intel concerning its plans to acquire Chips and Technologies, citing antitrust laws. At the time, Chips and Technologies was a major supplier of graphics chips.
Sept. 25: The FTC began a second antitrust investigation into Intel's business practices. This investigation was conducted separately from the review of Intel's offer to acquire Chips and Technologies.
Jan. 13: The FTC decided not to seek an injunction against Intel's acquisition of Chips and Technologies but announced plans to "continue the investigation into the lawfulness of the acquisition."
April 23: The FTC ruled that an October 1997 legal settlement between Intel and Digital Equipment that included the sale of Digital Equipment's semiconductor division, including its Alpha processor, to Intel would violate U.S. antitrust law if completed. As a result, the FTC required Digital Equipment to offer licenses for its Alpha processor to both AMD and Samsung Electronics as part of the deal.
June 8: The FTC issued an antitrust ruling against Intel. The FTC found that Intel stopped providing important technical information about its products to Digital Equipment, Compaq Computer and Intergraph after the three companies took legal action against Intel to enforce microprocessor patents they held. Intel also threatened to stop selling microprocessors to those companies, the FTC said.
March 17: The FTC accepted a settlement with Intel over the 1998 antitrust ruling. The agreement required Intel to refrain from withholding technical information from customers involved in intellectual-property litigation with the company, but did not constitute an admission of guilt on the chip maker's part.
Sept. 26: The FTC ended its second investigation into Intel's business practices and decided to take no further action against the company.