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FTC strikes blow for Alpha

Intel forced to allow re-licensing

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A year ago From The Register No. 74, April 1998 The US Federal Trade Commission will allow a deal between Intel and Digital to go ahead, but not without safeguards. A ruling released late yesterday means that a settlement between the two companies will go ahead but could be reviewed if other companies, including AMD, fail in their bids to license elements of Alpha technology. The FTC also wants IBM and other semiconductor companies to license the Alpha technology. But it is a moot point whether Big Blue is interested in so doing. Digital and AMD have been in discussions for some time about certain semiconductor payments. The latter’s K7 technology depends in large part upon licensing the fast Alpha bus, which will be included in its so-called Slot A technology next year. Under the terms of the Intel-Digital agreement last October, Intel will foundry Alpha processors for Digital, while the latter will continue to own and develop the technology. A statement from Intel said that both companies will now seek to complete the deal as quickly as possible. The FTC statement said that it was keen to ensure the continued existence of the Alpha chip and technology in the marketplace. The ruling will have little effect on other elements of the FTC’s investigation into Intel. These are expected to be broadened after a judge said its treatment of Intergraph was a possible violation of anti-trust legislation. Intel has said it will appeal against the Intergraph ruling. ®

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