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Intel pays peanuts to settle NY antitrust suit

Mere millions seal the deal after judge kneecaps state's case

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Intel has agreed to fork over a mere $6.5m to settle an antitrust lawsuit by New York's attorney general.

Although $6.5m is no mean sum to the average joe, it's a pittance to Intel, whose net income last year was a cool $12.94bn.

The case, first brought by Andrew Cuomo back in 2009, alleged that Intel had threatened PC makers and paid billions in kickbacks to make sure that they all used its chips. It's one of a number of suits brought by firms and regulators over the years that have accused the world number one chipmaker of unfair market dominance.

Unfortunately, the judge ruled that it wasn't really appropriate for the state to be suing on behalf of non-state companies, or looking to get damages on behalf of PC buyers.

"Those orders dismissed with prejudice the New York Attorney General's claims asserting (a) authority to represent non-state public entities under the Donnelly Act; and (b) parens patriae authority to recover on behalf of consumers under the Donnelly Act," the settlement agreement [PDF 2.3MB] read.

Intel, unsurprisingly, was well chuffed with this outcome.

“Following recent court rulings in Intel’s favour that significantly and appropriately narrowed the scope of this case, we were able to reach an agreement with New York to bring to an end what remained of the case. We have always said that Intel’s business practices are lawful, pro-competitive and beneficial to consumers, and we are pleased this matter has been resolved,” general counsel Doug Melamed said in a canned statement.

However, it's not the first time that Intel has had to answer to allegations like this. The chip colossus is currently appealing against a $1.5bn (€1.06bn) fine the European Commission slapped on it in 2009 after finding the biz titan guilty of anti-competitive behaviour.

The same year, Intel settled an antitrust battle with its main rival AMD, that included cross-licensing agreements, a promise from the behemoth that it would play nice in future and a handout of $1.25bn.

Then, in 2010, Intel settled an anti-competition case brought by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which demanded that the goliath see the error of its ways. The FTC imposed a list of orders on the firm that added up to it changing its business policies and corporate governance structure. ®

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