Intel’s Woes Worsen: U.S. May Follow E.U. in Antitrust Rulings

Intel’s just landed itself a financial penalty of nearly one and a half billion dollars in an E.U. antitrust ruling, but now there are suggestions that the company’s problems may be just starting–U.S. lawmakers could follow with antitrust cases of their own.

Speaking to Reuters, David Balto, a former policy director for antitrust at the Federal Trade Commission noted that, “The size of the fine shows that there’s been substantial harm to consumers. That’s going to compel the FTC to act.”

He may be right: The FTC and, separately, the New York attorney general’s office are already in the middle of investigating Intel. Apparently the FTC is considering the merits of pursuing Intel under section five of the FTC act which concerns unfair methods of competition–very similar to the route that the E.U. followed.

President Obama’s tightening of antitrust policies, are meant to reverse a previously relaxed stance, and come during a recession–which is a particularly tempting time for companies to consider overly-aggressive business practices, according to the Justice Department. This isn’t exactly the case for Intel, since its bad behavior extends back many years, but the fines would likely still be punitive.

[via Reuters]

Related: E.U. Slaps Intel With Record $1.45 Billion Antitrust Fine
Related: Microsoft and Intel Fight E.U. Lawsuits Just as Antitrust Policies in the U.S. Get Tougher
Related: The Fast Company 50 – 2009: Intel

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