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Computer processor giant Intel has narrowly escaped being fined for anti-competitive conduct, reaching a settlement with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. Although Intel maintains it hasn't violated the law, it still has to change its way of doing business.
The settlement will prohibit Intel from threatening penalties against customers who buy competitors' products, and from paying them for using their chips exclusively. The settlement also forces Intel to modify intellectual property agreements with other chipmakers, so they have more freedom to consider mergers or joint ventures with other companies. Previously, they could only do so under the threat of being sued by Intel for patent infringement.
In the current global market for computer processors, Intel holds almost 80 percent of the market share. Competitors have long been accusing the chip giant of using illegal ways to maintain its dominance over the market. In November last year, Intel paid smaller rival Advanced Micro Devices 1.25 billion U.S. dollars to settle similar charges.
The settlement looks to end a decade-long series of antitrust investigations against Intel. But some industry experts are already questioning the effectiveness of the agreement, and whether regulators will be able to enforce many aspects of the deal.