updated 06:30 pm EDT, Mon July 19, 2010
Intel to get mild regulation in FTC lawsuit
Intel may settle the FTC antitrust lawsuit in a way that favors NVIDIA, sources said Monday. The strategy would follow some of the elements of the truce with AMD extend these to graphics chipsets. These could include preventing Intel from intimidating companies into avoiding NVIDIA graphics or knowingly designing code or hardware to perform poorly.
The remedy would also address an NVIDIA-specific complaint regarding unfair bundling, Reuters said. It could address accusations of Intel hampering Ion sales by forcing the CPU designer to offer fair pricing when its processors and graphics are bundled together. Intel allegedly dropped pricing on the combination of an Atom chip and the matching chipset so low that it became impractical to use Ion for all but high-end systems where cost wasn't a factor.
Unlike AMD's deal, Intel would avoid a payment to settle the case.
Neither Intel nor FTC volunteered to comment.
The settlement could partially address the countering Intel and NVIDIA lawsuits over graphics licensing. Intel has claimed that NVIDIA's license for chipsets doesn't allow it to produce chipsets for processors with integrated graphics, such as the Core iX series, but NVIDIA has insisted that Intel is intentionally dishonoring its license to bar NVIDIA from fairly competing with faster, more advanced graphics.
Intel's effect on NVIDIA is believed to have forced many of the design decisions behind Apple's recent lineup. The Mac producer has a long-term deal with NVIDIA but can't use more recent Intel chips in its smaller computers; the choice led to the 13-inch MacBook and MacBook Pro models, as well as the Mac mini, using upgraded Core 2 Duos for the sake of the much faster NVIDIA components.