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FTC girds taffeta for Intel action

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How ready is the US Federal Trade Commision for the start of its antitrust sauit against Intel next week? Well, judging from its web site, not very. Yesterday it filed its opening shots with the court, but today's "latest release" on ftc.gov doesn't seem to have quite caught up yet. It's headed "What Every Bride-to-be Should Know." This, the big news from last Friday, could be interpreted as having some relevance to pending major antitrust actions, but - given the few days before the show goes live - doesn't quite make it. For example, the FTC says it is "trying to make sure brides-to-be get what they pay for when they buy a wedding dress - including all the information federal law requires on wearing apparel." Unfortunate grist to Intel's defence here, surely - if the United States has federal law dictating how you're allowed to wear apparel, then clearly this is Big Government that's got too big. Says Jodie Bernstein, FTC consumer protection bureau director: "Brides are telling us they want the 'inside' information and that it's missing from some garments." Well, when one thinks of Intel, one does tend to think of "inside" as well, doesn't one? Again, you can see the FTC is getting there, but remains low on focus. The FTC adds: "The emergence of discount ordering services - either through toll-free telephone numbers or the Internet - has spurred some retailers to remove disclosure labels from their gowns." This isn't against the law, apparently, and may also help Intel - didn't the Great Stan remove Intergraph's disclosure labels? So maybe it wasn't illegal. But giving a taste of what's going to happen to Intel once the long arm of the law has brought it low, Bernstein adds sternly: "We hope that bridal gown businesses will refer to our business education brochure to make sure they're complying with the law and providing brides-to-be with the information they deserve." You listening, Craig Barrett? Read the goddam brochure or you're toast, OK?

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