The Federal Trade Commission sued Intel today, looking to block tactics it says the world's biggest chip maker has used to snuff out competition. The FTC said Intel, which makes the microprocessors that run personal computers, has used both rewards and threats to discourage computer makers from buying competitors' chips or marketing computers that carry them. The complaint names Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and IBM as Intel's targets.
The agency is asking for an order that would bar Intel from using "threats, bundled prices, or other offers to encourage exclusive deals, hamper competition, or unfairly manipulate the prices of its" chips. Intel has faced similar charges for years and has denied any wrongdoing. The lawsuit comes after a recent $1.25 billion settlement with rival Advanced Micro Devices over similar claims, and a record $1.45 billion antitrust fine leveled by European regulators, which Intel is appealing. The FTC also says Intel has secretly redesigned critical computer software to hinder the performance of other companies' microprocessors, or CPUs, and is looking to extend its dominance into chips that are used to processes graphics, known as GPUs.