[JURIST] The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) [official website] will not open a formal investigation into allegations that computer chip maker Intel offered unfair discounts to convince computer makers to buy its products over those made by rival Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) [corporate websites], according to the New York Times Monday, citing unnamed officials and lawyers involved in the matter. The FTC had been conducting an informal investigation into complaints made by AMD regarding Intel, but the decision not to launch a formal probe would have allowed the Commission to issue subpoenas and compel testimony.
The news comes as a blow to lawmakers and at least two of the five FTC commissioners who had pushed for a formal US inquiry into Intel's corporate behavior. In August, American Antitrust Institute [advocacy website] President Albert Foer wrote a letter [PDF text] to the FTC urging such an investigation. The letter came after the European Commission [official website] filed formal charges [Business Wire report] against Intel in July for violating European Union competition laws. Similar probes have been conducted by the Korean Fair Trade Commission and the Japan Fair Trade Commission [official websites]. Intel has insisted that it merely engaged in "pro-competition" which was "ultimately beneficial to consumers." Intel could face fines in both Europe and Korea for engaging in anti-competitive behavior. The New York Times has more.