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Intel escapes FTC noose

FTC levels playing field for litigious rivals

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Well that didn’t take long. Last week Intel looked set for a short sharp shock in court with the FTC. This week, the company has wriggled more or less completely free from the anti-trust charges levelled against the company. For the Federal Trade Commission settlement -- agreed with Intel last week behind closed doors -- is not exactly a heavy cross for Intel to bear. The FTC says that Intel must "take no steps to impede, alter, suspend, or withhold advance technical information "for reasons related to an intellectual property dispute with such customer.". A copy of the full judgment must be posted on Intel's web site for one month. And Intel must report back to the FTC for five years to show it is complying with the settlement. But the company retains the general right to withhold technical and product information from customers. Intel says the adjudication protects its intellectual property rights. Even more satisfyingly, Intel escapes being tarred with the monopolist brush. Although the company controls well over 80 per cent of the microprocessor market, the FTC appears to conclude that there is still enough space for vigorous and successful competition. &reg:

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