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Intel and antitrust: A brief history

FTC complaint against Intel latest in long list of events

By Network World Staff and IDG News Service, Network World
December 16, 2009 01:52 PM ET

Network World - 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:

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.

1991

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.

1992

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.

1993

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.

1994

Feb. 4: Cyrix dismissed its 1990 antitrust claims against Intel as part of a patent-dispute settlement between the two companies.

1995

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.

1997

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.

1998

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.

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