Report: Intel closer to facing U.S. anticompetition charges

Intel said it is not aware of any new developments in the FTC's investigation; EU has already fined Intel for such behavior

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is moving toward opening a formal complaint against Intel, according to a news report published on Friday. Three out of four antitrust regulators at the FTC are in favor of filing a complaint, according to a Reuters report citing undisclosed sources.

The report comes in the wake of the European Commission fining Intel €1.06 billion (equivalent to $1.44 billion at the time) in May, after finding it guilty of antitrust violations in the PC processor market. The EC said Intel had paid rebates to system manufacturers in order to shut out competition from rivals such as Advanced Micro Devices.

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Intel said the company was cooperating with the FTC on an ongoing inquiry into competition in the microprocessor market but that it isn't aware of any new developments. "We've been cooperating with the formal investigation and we're continuing to do so. We have no knowledge in terms of a decision," said Chuck Mulloy, an Intel spokesman. "We're assuming the investigation is ongoing."

The FTC's investigation into Intel started in 2008, just a day after the Korea Fair Trade Commission fined Intel around $25 million for abusing its dominant position in the PC processor market. Intel offered rebates to South Korean PC makers in a way that unfairly harmed AMD, the Korea Fair Trade Commission found.

The Fair Trade Commission of Japan (JFTC) in 2005 recommended that Intel end the practice of offering funds to PC makers in exchange for a commitment not to use processors from its competitors.

Intel is one of the largest chip makers in the world, with its microprocessors going into more than 80 percent of the world's PCs.

Reached after the close of its business hours, the FTC did not respond to a request for comment.

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