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New York AG files antitrust suit against Intel

[JURIST] The New York Attorney General [official website] on Wednesday filed an antitrust suit [complaint, PDF; press release] against Intel [corporate website], alleging that the microprocessor manufacturer engaged in illegal conduct to further its dominance in the marketplace. The complaint alleges that Intel obtained exclusive contracts from manufacturers in exchange for large payments. Attorney General Andrew Cuomo claims that many of these agreements were aimed at specifically disadvantaging Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) [corporate website], one of the company's strongest competitors. Such agreements are claimed to have been enforced despite not being part of any written contract. The complaint also alleges that Intel threatened to withhold funding or development from computer companies if they marketed or promoted AMD-based systems. Computer manufacturers allegedly involved in these agreements include IBM, HP, and Dell [corporate websites]. Cuomo commented on the suit:

Rather than compete fairly, Intel used bribery and coercion to maintain a stranglehold on the market. Intel's actions not only unfairly restricted potential competitors, but also hurt average consumers who were robbed of better products and lower prices. These illegal tactics must stop and competition must be restored to this vital marketplace.

The investigation, which began [JURIST report] in January 2008, is based largely on internal e-mail correspondence and documents from various computer manufacturers as well as witness testimony.

Intel has faced numerous antitrust allegations [JURIST news archive] in the past. In July, Intel appealed a European Commission (EC) ruling [JURIST reports] that fined the company €1.06 billion for violating European Union antitrust laws. Similarly to the allegations brought by New York, the EC held that the company paid manufacturers to not use AMD products. In June 2008, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) [official website] opened a probe against Intel [JURIST report] for anti-competitive behavior. Also last year, the Korean Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) [official website] fined Intel nearly $26 million after a KFTC probe [JURIST reports] found that the company had engaged in anti-competitive practices. In 2005, AMD filed [JURIST report] a civil suit [complaint, PDF] against Intel. The court date for that suit is set for January 2010.

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