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FTC gives itself an anti-trust extension as Intel deal eludes it

Chipzilla on temporary reprieve
Thu Jul 22 2010, 13:23

AN APPARENT FAILURE TO FIND agreement has led to the US Federal Trade Commission extending by two weeks the time it has to find a settlement with Intel.

We reported Tuesday 20 July that the FTC and Intel claimed they were close to a deal, the 22 July had been the deadline over the FTC's complaint that Chipzilla was running a monopolistic chip-shop.

Both parties said they had reached an initial agreement, with Chipzilla limiting volume discounts on its chips. One wonders what the hiccough is, if the FTC now wants to extend the deadline by two weeks and has requested the temporary withdrawal of its case.

The FTC says it wants more time to consider its proposed settlement before adjudication. This was first issued for 21 June at 12:01am and due to run out on 23 July at the same time. Now the FTC withdrawal will give Chipzilla a temporary reprieve up until 12.01am on 6 August.

This is the gazzilionth anti-trust inquiry into Intel's competitive - or rather, anti-competitive - business practices. This time around the FTC isn't in a position to fine Chipzilla.  It doesn't have the power to impose a fat cash penalty as a civil fine in US anti-trust cases.

Intel wasn't so lucky when it was dragged through the European courts, which have the power to fine with impunity. And so they did, to the tune of $1.45 billion. µ


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