Outside the United States
Proposed Consent Agreement In the Matter of Intel Corporation, a corporation, FTC Docket No. 9341
In order for “[t]he touchstone of the Proposed Consent Order” to be “the protection of consumers and competition” the FTC should ensure that the Order addresses Intel business practices in all markets. The “exclusionary and unfair conduct alleged in the Complaint” are contrary to the consumer’s interests whenever those practice occur. The FTC should take this opportunity to ensure that the “Commercial Practices Prohibitions” extend across all of Intel’s conduct to protect the consumer. The proposed order, presently, studiously limits itself to addressing conduct related to the sale of “Relevant Products” (i.e. those desktop, laptop, netbook, notebook workstation or server computers which use an X86 instruction set based microprocessor) . There appears to be no reason why, with respect to certain practices, the order should be so limited. Practices such as “threats to retaliate against an OEM, ODM, or End User for doing business with a non-Intel supplier” cannot have any legitimate purpose in any market and the Order should ensure that Intel stops these practices entirely – not just in particular markets. Similarly, “lump sum payments to an OEM, ODM, or End User” that disguise below-cost predatory practices uniformly harm the consumer in the long run. It is crucial for the FTC to proactively guard against the abuses described in the Order and surely this order provides such an opportunity to act proactively. The FTC should carefully review the Order to ensure that it is not so limited as to permit Intel to repeat the predatory practices in any other market. Given the significant lag time for remedial efforts, Intel’s “Commercial Practices” have the ability to entirely eliminate competition before those practices can be stopped. Once competition is eliminated, consumers then suffer irreparable harm regardless of any belated injunctions or fines.