Intel Wins Key Antitrust Ruling
Intel has won a crucial victory in a lawsuit claiming that consumers were harmed by the improper discounts it allegedly used to discourage PC makers from buying chips from its rivals. Late Thursday, a court-appointed “special master” recommended that the judge presiding over the case deny it class-action status, saying essentially that if consumers were overcharged as a result of Intel’s alleged tactics, it wasn’t Intel’s fault. PC makers could have passed on the cost savings of Intel’s discounted prices if they’d chosen to.
Welcome news for Intel (INTC), which has long insisted there is nothing wrong with its business practices. “Consumers, as well as computer manufacturers, have benefited from Intel’s price discounts,” said spokesman Chuck Mulloy. “When Intel’s competitors offer lower prices, Intel responds with its own discounts that lower Intel’s prices, just as any competitive company would.”
For their part, the plaintiffs in the case plan to press on. “We strongly disagree with the recommendations made in the report as it ignores charges made by several regulatory bodies,” said attorney Steve Berman. “We plan to continue to prove our case to the court.”