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Thursday, July 22, 2010
FTC Extends Antitrust Settlement Talks With Intel

The Federal Trade Commission will extend by two weeks the temporary withdrawal of its case against Intel from adjudication to allow the Commission more time to consider a proposed settlement.

The original order was issued on June 21 and was set to expire on Friday, July 23 at 12:01 a.m. This action extends the withdrawal until 12:01 a.m. on Friday, August 6.

Federal regulators will take at least two more weeks to work out details of a proposed agreement with Intel to settle charges that the giant chipmaker violated antitrust laws.

The Federal Trade Commission said late Wednesday that it needs more time to consider and negotiate the proposed settlement, which was first announced last month.

The FTC?s Bureau of Competition works with the Bureau of Economics to investigate alleged anticompetitive business practices and, when appropriate, recommends that the Commission take law enforcement action.

The FTC brought antitrust charges against Intel last December, charging that the company has illegally used its dominant market position for a decade to stifle competition and strengthen its monopoly. The FTC alleges that Intel has waged a systematic campaign to shut out rivals' competing microchips by cutting off their access to the marketplace. In the process, Intel deprived consumers of choice and innovation in the microchips that comprise the computers' CPU. According to the FTC complaint, Intel's anticompetitive tactics were designed to put the brakes on superior competitive products that threatened its monopoly in the CPU microchip market. Over the last decade, this strategy has succeeded in maintaining the Intel monopoly at the expense of consumers, who have been denied access to potentially superior, non-Intel CPU chips and lower prices, the complaint states.

The case, which is before an administrative law judge at the agency, has been on hold for a month while the two sides have tried to hammer out an agreement. That suspension had been set to end at midnight on Thursday, but will now run through midnight on Aug. 5.

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