New York Attorney General Settles Antitrust Case Against Intel

Intel announced Thursday that the New York Attorney General has settled the antitrust charges it filed against the company back in November 2009, which alleged the Santa Clara, California-based chip maker illegally pressured PC manufacturers to use its products.

The suit claimed that Intel "violated state and federal anti-monopoly laws by engaging in a worldwide, systematic campaign of illegal conduct -- revealed in e-mails -- in order to maintain its monopoly power and prices in the market for microprocessors," according to a statement from the New York attorney general accompanying the complaint.

The statement cited e-mails including an internal one at HP stating that Intel planned "to punish HP" for launching servers based on Intel rival AMD’s Opteron processor. It also referenced a Dell e-mail that said Intel CEO Paul Otellini and Chairman Craig Barrett will be "prepared for jihad if Dell joins the AMD exodus."

Intel is offering a payment of $6.5 million to cover some of the costs incurred by the New York Attorney General in the litigation, but has not admitted to any violation of law but as part of the settlement.

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"We have always said that Intel's business practices are lawful, pro-competitive and beneficial to consumers, and we are pleased this matter has been resolved," said Doug Melamed, senior vice president and general counsel at Intel.

The agreement was expedited by a December 2011 court ruling that reduced the scope of the New York Attorney General’s lawsuit. A district court judge dismissed any claims that involved PC purchases prior to November 2006, eWeek said, and ruled that the claims against Intel violated the three-year statute of limitation in Delaware, the state where the filing was made. State officials had originally filed claims that stretched back as far as six years.

"While we were disappointed by the rulings of the Delaware federal judge handling the matter, it's important to note that our claims were dismissed on procedural, not substantive grounds," Jennifer Givner, a spokeswoman for New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, said in a statement. "We continue to believe that those claims, which were asserted under the previous administration, had merit, but in light of the court's decision believe that no purpose is served by pursuing the matter further."

Intel has faced similar antitrust allegations from the Federal Trade Commission and AMD, which it had to award $1.25 billion in damages in November 2009.