In order to aid public comment on the proposed settlement between Intel and the FTC, the FTC produced a written analysis:
The Federal Trade Commission (“Commission” or “FTC”) accepted for public comment an Agreement Containing Consent Order (“Proposed Consent Order”) with Intel Corporation (“Intel”) to resolve an Administrative Complaint issued by the Commission on December 16, 2009.1 The Complaint alleged that Intel unlawfully maintained its monopoly in the relevant CPU markets, and sought to acquire a second monopoly in the relevant graphics markets, using a variety of unfair methods of competition. Consumers were harmed by Intel’s conduct, which resulted in higher prices, less innovation, and less consumer choice in the relevant markets. Consumers were also harmed by Intel’s deceptive disclosures related to its compilers, which violated both competition and consumer protection principles. The Proposed Consent Order will bring immediate relief in the relevant markets and puts Intel under Commission Order.
As described in detail below, the Proposed Consent Order has two fundamental goals. First, it seeks to undo the effects of Intel’s past restraints on competition by enhancing the ability of AMD, NVIDIA, Via, and others to compete effectively with Intel. To that end, the Proposed Consent Order seeks: 1) to make it easier for AMD, NVIDIA, and Via to use third-party foundries to manufacture products (to enable them to better match Intel’s manufacturing advantages) (Section III.A.); 2) to give AMD, NVIDIA, and Via flexibility to secure modifications of change of control provisions in their Licensing Agreements with Intel (Section III.B); 3) to extend Via’s intellectual property license (Section III.C); and 4) to provide assurances to manufacturers of complementary and peripheral products that they will be able to connect their devices to Intel’s CPUs (Section II). These provisions compel Intel to make certain offers; they do not compel a third party to accept them. The goal is to require Intel to open the door to renewed competition, not to force a third party to take any particular action.
Second, the Proposed Consent Order is designed to protect the ability of customers and existing and future Intel competitors to engage in mutually beneficial trade, while prohibiting Intel from using certain practices to deter or thwart such trade. The Proposed Consent Order therefore prohibits Intel from engaging in: 1) certain pricing practices that could allow Intel to exclude competitors while maintaining high prices to consumers (Section IV.A.); 2) predatory design that disadvantages competing products without providing a performance benefit to the Intel product (Section V); and 3) deception related to its product road maps, its compilers, and product benchmarking (Sections VI, VII, and VIII).