Intel's Antitrust Settlement All Clear

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The Federal Trade Commission approved and announced Wednesday the details of its antitrust settlement with Intel. The surprise deal, which is still subject to public comment, was struck last week on the eve of a major antitrust trial. The truce helps establish new limits on the exercise of market dominance. In the Intel case, the microprocessor giant has agreed not to withhold -- or threaten to withhold -- technical information as a way of getting companies to sign away intellectual property rights. Computer makers such as Compaq, IBM and Dell are highly dependent on Intel for advanced information when designing new computers that will make the most of Intel's chips. Intel can still keep information about its chips confidential for legitimate business reasons (e.g., the information is being used to design competing chips), but not as a way of muscling companies into other deals. If only it were so easy for Microsoft.

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