updated 06:50 pm EDT, Thu July 29, 2010
Intel has private antitrust suit whittled down
Intel on Thursday landed a crucial victory in a private lawsuit that accused it of unfair pricing [sub. required]. Special Master Vincent Poppiti recommended to the US District Court in Delaware that the judge deny the lawsuit any class action status as there was no proof PC shoppers as a group were price gouged by alleged Intel price dumping meant to exclude AMD from the market. As Intel only set its own pricing, computer builders were free to drop their own stickers rather than simply widen their profit margins, Poppiti said.
The finding doesn't automatically equate to a final decision, but the decision will be binding if the plaintiffs who filed the suit don't raise objections within three weeks. The party hasn't commented on whether it will fight the Special Master decision. Intel also hasn't provided a comment.
Intel has repeatedly insisted that all its practices have been legal, but the semiconductor firm was slapped with a $1.45 billion fine by the EU last year and has been eager to settle cases since rather than face further penalties. Among these was a $1.25 billion payment to AMD to head off the latter's own lawsuit. Negotiations are also purportedly underway to settle with the FTC in a case that would not only govern how Intel sells processors but prevent it from using certain tactics that may have prevented NVIDIA from competing fairly in graphics despite faster hardware.