The Federal Trade Commission says chip-maker Intel Corp. hindered rivals by blocking access to the market and is seeking broad new actions from the company, reports the New York Times. In an unusual complaint filed Dec. 16 against Intel, the FTC said it wanted to address anticompetitive abuses not only in the past and present, but also down the road. Armed with a hybrid law that spans consumer protection and antitrust concerns, the agency said it was seeking to prevent Intel from using its dominance in the market for microprocessors to squelch competition in video graphics chips. The graphics-chip market is currently quite competitive, with Intel facing off against Nvidia and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD). The FTC’s filing goes beyond charges in cases brought recently by European regulators and the New York State attorney general, which focused on microprocessors. Intel supplies about 80 percent of the PC microprocessor chips used worldwide. The agency’s action comes after a yearlong investigation, and one month after Intel reached a sweeping $1.25 billion settlement with longtime rival AMD. As a remedy, the commission is seeking an order that would prevent Intel from using threats, bundled prices, or other offers to encourage exclusive deals, hamper competition, or unfairly manipulate the prices of its microprocessors or graphics chips. The FTC is also proposing requirements that Intel submit some business decisions for prior agency approval. Intel’s general counsel, A. Douglas Melamed, called the FTC’s action "misguided and unwarranted." Melamed said that the commission’s recommended steps would unfairly constrain Intel’s pricing and marketing, hinder product design and innovation, and force the company to give away its intellectual property. The complaint is an administrative action, which will be heard before a single judge within the FTC, with the trial starting in September…

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