The antitrust lawsuit filed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is nothing new to Intel. Intel has a history of unfair competition and antitrust lawsuits and litigation spanning almost two decades. Here is a brief chronology of Intel's legal woes.
•1991. AMD files an antitrust lawsuit against Intel.
•1993. FTC halts its ongoing antitrust investigation into Intel without taking any action.
•1995. AMD and Intel settle pending lawsuits with each other.
•1998. FTC alleges that Intel withheld technical details of processors from companies with which it was engaged in patent disputes.
•1999. Intel settles case with FTC.
•2000. AMD lodges antitrust complaint with European Commission
•2005. Japan charges Intel with violation of Japanese Antimonopoly Act. Intel accepts ruling without admitting wrongdoing. AMD files antitrust lawsuit in U.S. court. Intel files response to AMD lawsuit and court date is set for 2010.
•2006. Transmeta files lawsuit against Intel for patent infringement.
•2007. European Commission accuses Intel of anti-competitive practices. Intel and Transmeta settle lawsuit. Intel pays Transmeta $150 million, plus $20 million a year over the next five years, and Intel is granted licensing rights to Transmeta technology for 10 years. South Korea accuses Intel of breaking antitrust laws.
•2008. FTC begins new antitrust investigation into Intel. South Korea finds that Intel is guilty of unfair competition and fines it $25.5 million.
•2009. European Commission finds that Intel is guilty of engaging in anti-competitive practices and levies a record $1.44 billion fine against Intel. Intel pays penalty, but is actively appealing judgment. The state of New York files a lawsuit against Intel, alleging antitrust behavior. Nvidia and Intel end collaborative partnership and engage in legal battle. Intel and AMD settle all pending lawsuits between each other (again). Intel pays AMD $1.25 billion and the two engage in a new five-year cross-licensing agreement. FTC files formal antitrust charges against Intel.
Intel holds a dominant stake in the microprocessor industry, so it's easy to paint it as the bad guy. Perhaps Intel is guilty of unfair competition and predatory business practices to stifle competition. But, it's also possible that smaller competitors that can't face Intel head-to-head in the market resort to attempting to litigate their way to success.
Whether Intel is guilty or innocent, or somewhere in between, it certainly seems that there is some tremendous job security in working for the Intel legal team.