The Federal Trade Commission announced Wednesday it has settled charges brought against chipmaker Intel last December. The charges alleged Intel had engaged in unfair and deceptive trade practices, including "a systematic campaign to prevent rivals from selling their microchips by cutting off their access to the market."
According to the Los Angeles Times, Intel has agreed to "step back" from the activities outlined in the complaint, but is not admitting wrongdoing or acknowledging that the allegations are true. The company's general counsel, Douglas Melamed, said only:
This agreement provides a framework that will allow us to continue to compete and to provide our customers the best possible products at the best prices.
Here's my question: If the practices didn't happen, how can Intel "step back" from them?
In a statement on the FTC website, Chairman Jon Leibowitz had this to say:
By accepting this settlement, we open the door to competition today and address Intel's anticompetitive conduct in a way that may not have been available in a final judgment years from now.
Observers say it's unclear how quickly the settlement will impact consumer prices but it should boost the market positions of Intel competitors like AMD and Nvidia almost immediately.