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Intel to Settle With FTC (Upd: But Not This Week!)

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 32 comments

Nvidia is likely to benefit from the FTC dealing with Intel.

Intel and Nvidia are currently locking horns over what's fair business. Nvidia claims that Intel priced its Atom processors as prohibitively expensive when purchased not in conjunction with an Intel chipset. This deterred computer makers from pairing the Atom with Nvidia's Ion chipset, which granted the CPU access to a GeForce 9400M.

According to Reuters, that sort of business behavior on Intel's part could be coming to an end, as the chipmaker is to settle with the U.S. FTC. The deal would spare Intel from paying Nvidia the same sort of monetary reparations it has to pay AMD, but would still restrict it from certain marketing tactics.

Someone close to the deal said that this could curb Intel's use of volume discounts when selling Intel CPUs together with its in-house graphics chips.

The FTC declined to comment on the story, and Intel spokesman Chuck Mulloy offered only, "Discussions are ongoing, and we have nothing more to add at this point."

A decision, if it happens as reported, will happen on Friday.

UPDATE: The latest word from the Wall Street Journal is that we won't be hearing about any resolution this week, as the two sides haven't come to an agreement yet. The FTC has extended the discussions by two weeks, until August 6.

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  • 4 Hide
    joytech22 , July 21, 2010 10:34 AM
    Quote:
    which granted the CPU access to a the

    I lol'd

    And Intel are becoming more and more like that greedy blue/white fruit, they want more and more AND more profit.
    Although that's what businesses do.. if, for example, it cost's intel $200 to make a i7 980X extreme, i wouldn't charge any where near $1000 for it, probably $400, i mean double the profit of initial costs is pretty sweet.
  • 5 Hide
    Ezence , July 21, 2010 11:00 AM
    "The deal would spare Intel from the monetary penalties which it was ordered to pay AMD"

    Did i miss something? I know they (intel and AMD) that involved paying money to AMD but i didn't know they where forced to pay AMD anything by a court.
  • 0 Hide
    rohitbaran , July 21, 2010 11:06 AM
    Well, that is going to be one filthy fight.
  • 4 Hide
    maydaynomore , July 21, 2010 11:53 AM
    Ezence"The deal would spare Intel from the monetary penalties which it was ordered to pay AMD"Did i miss something? I know they (intel and AMD) that involved paying money to AMD but i didn't know they where forced to pay AMD anything by a court.

    AMD and Intel settled out of court...
  • -7 Hide
    leon2006 , July 21, 2010 12:02 PM
    If ever this happen it will be just in time with the release of Sandy Bridge. Then the issue is mute.
  • 0 Hide
    rohitbaran , July 21, 2010 12:16 PM
    Why do you think that will happen? Unless someone puts checks on Intel's policies time to time, they will keep up with their marketing gimmicks even with future releases.
  • 9 Hide
    santiagoanders , July 21, 2010 1:33 PM
    leon2006Then the issue is mute.


    Dude, mute? Read a dictionary sometime.
  • 9 Hide
    CaptainBib , July 21, 2010 1:35 PM
    AMD/Nvidia/Intel.. They are corporations and the reason for their existence is to make money.

    Intel likes to make underhanded deals, Nvidia screws you with their drivers (can't use Physx with an ATI card on board), AMD just likes to ruin intel and nvidia's days by releasing products with 80-90% of the performance for $50 less.

    P.S. Intel walks right in to these lawsuits
  • 7 Hide
    jomofro39 , July 21, 2010 2:38 PM
    santiagoandersDude, mute? Read a dictionary sometime.

    Yes...read a dictionary... I lol'd. Read more novels or something with a little spice!
    And you meant moot.
  • 8 Hide
    vertigo_2000 , July 21, 2010 2:42 PM
    santiagoandersDude, mute? Read a dictionary sometime.

    I got a good laugh out of this as well.

    Reminded me of that episode of Friends where Joey said some issue was "moo". A cow's opinion on a subject means nothing... it's moo.

    But jumping on him like the grammar police is not necessary.
  • 7 Hide
    hellwig , July 21, 2010 3:17 PM
    I know all companies are out to make as much money as possible, but some companies are criminal in the way they go about doing it. Intel has always gone about their business the wrong way. The only reason AMD is still around is because Intel shot themselves in the foot trying to drive them out of business, and the government basically granted AMD an X86 license for life.

    Sometimes, companies need to spend more of their effort improving their own product rather than trying to prevent everyone else from improving. Between 2000 and 2005, AMD had the fastest x86 processor, but then Intel released Core 2. Imagine if Intel had directed all that effort coercing and blackmailing retailers into designing the Core 2 sooner (instead of a worthless Pentium 4)?

    To remain on top, all Intel needs is their superior product. If Nvidia's ION chipset is superior, maybe Intel should have released a better chipset than the stupid 945GC. A 22W chipset for a 2.5W processor, and they wonder why people want ION?
  • 4 Hide
    mrecio , July 21, 2010 3:55 PM
    Healthy competition is good, but when one company gets too much of an upper-hand and can run gimmicks like these to maximize their profits then you see the true side of a corporations.

    The Top dog always plays a little dirty.
  • 0 Hide
    waylander , July 21, 2010 4:23 PM
    Let's keep in mind though that "ideal" of capitalism. I can understand the whole "fair trade" issue but really sometimes we take it too far. If a company cannot compete as a healthy business on the basis of their products then should someone else interfere? The fact that intel wants to give a discount for bundling in other products of theirs is sound business practice and happens everywhere you look. The fact that these are both large companies and can afford the lawyers should not mean they get special treatment.
  • 2 Hide
    jecastej , July 21, 2010 4:25 PM
    hellwig

    You bring in some good arguments. And I think your arguments and many more are reasons why we need more competition - always. To those who turn to much in favor of a specific brand or design, enjoy but at the same time let go fanaticism (haven't you bought from both ATI and NVIDIA or AMD and INTEL, -it wont kill you). From time to time some companies will dominate the market, it wont be the end of the world or something to loose faith in humanity, but other companies will need to produce competitive and creative products in many key areas or improve what they already have. I wont bet on any company failure. Critics most be made to improve product or services not to kill or ruin, because the result could be in the end ONE selfish giant company and all of us loosing on options and performance.

    I understand too, intellectual property most be protected and companies are in the market to produce money. among other things, but we cannot get to a point where one company rule the industry for years without real competition.
  • 1 Hide
    70camaross396 , July 21, 2010 5:22 PM
    I dont see anything wrong with what intel is foing with the Atom Processor and chipset bundle. lots of companies do it all the time. if you buy X, then we will include Y at a discount. look at insurance companies. If you by car insurance and home owners insurance from the same company, they will discount both of them. Intel is doing the same thing here.

    Nvidia's Ion is not that much better than the current Atom Chipset. it is better in graphics but thats about it. it brings nothing new to the table.

    Nvidia should by VIA (and the x86 license that Via aquired when they bought Cyrix) and make thier own CPU's. VIA has been a leader in low power and embedded systems for almost 10 years. together they i am sure they could create a processor to rival the Atom and combining that experience with Nvidia's design expertice I am sure they could create a high proformance CPU to rival the Core-I3/5/7 series and AMD as well. VIA\Cyrix has never had a high end chip that could compete with Intel/AMD products, and that is why theier market share is almost 0. however thier low power/embedded systems are everywhere.

    Personally I would like to see a Via/Nvidia merger. I would bring some much needed compition to the market, force Intel to get serious about Graphics processors (the current intigrated graphic are pathetic) and lower prices, it would also provided the Nvidia with the CPU design expertice to better compete with AMD.
  • 2 Hide
    mikem_90 , July 21, 2010 5:24 PM
    waylanderLet's keep in mind though that "ideal" of capitalism. I can understand the whole "fair trade" issue but really sometimes we take it too far. If a company cannot compete as a healthy business on the basis of their products then should someone else interfere? The fact that intel wants to give a discount for bundling in other products of theirs is sound business practice and happens everywhere you look. The fact that these are both large companies and can afford the lawyers should not mean they get special treatment.


    Here's the problem, too many of the products each company makes are very interdependent on each other. And with margins so tight, it would make a contortionist sweat, these kind of pricing strategies basically price some companies out of the picture.

    Its a tricky business, but the alternative is NOT having many companies with new ideas driving the advance of technology. Lets suppose that Nvidia and AMD lost their court cases and allowed this kind of behavior, boom, both companies either close their doors or are relegated to tiny parts of the industry so that you ONLY get a choice of Intel. How soon would a price drop or new model of CPU come if only one chip company made CPUs, Chipsets, and video chips?

    Without a competitive drive, innovation slows to a standstill. And unfortunately, the requirements to start a new CPU company able to compete on the desktop market are pretty damn high. Someone has to bet a few billion to roll those dice.
  • 3 Hide
    maestintaolius , July 21, 2010 6:12 PM
    mrecioHealthy competition is good, but when one company gets too much of an upper-hand and can run gimmicks like these to maximize their profits then you see the true side of a corporations.The Top dog always plays a little dirty.

    People at the top don't want company.
  • 0 Hide
    False_Dmitry_II , July 21, 2010 7:30 PM
    mikem_90 And unfortunately, the requirements to start a new CPU company able to compete on the desktop market are pretty damn high. Someone has to bet a few billion to roll those dice.


    Not only that, they have to manage to get an x86 license. That alone would be difficult.
  • -2 Hide
    billj214 , July 21, 2010 7:40 PM
    Another instance of the government getting involved where it does not belong. US Politics has overwhelmingly been involved in defending the small minorities and forcing the majority to pay for the minority. This just doesn't work in a democracy.

    Also did anyone know that Intel is rated one of the top companies in the world for business ethics? I don't even think AMD or Nvidia made the list.

    http://www.thecro.com/files/CR100Best.pdf
    http://www.intel.com/about/corporateresponsibility/awards/index.htm


  • 0 Hide
    ksampanna , July 21, 2010 7:47 PM
    So no lawsuit here?
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