Intel's rollercoaster ride
The world of Intel is having its share of ups and downs. On the upside, the Federal Trade Commission has concluded its investigation of Intel for anti-competitive practices and has decided no action is warranted against it, Intel said.
The company allegedly extracted either high prices or unfair access to trade secrets of three of its customers, including Intergraph, Compaq Computer and Digital Equipment, under threat it would withhold crucial information about Intel chips that the companies needed to do business.
"We're gratified by this result. It reflects our view that Intel conducts business in an ethical and lawful fashion," Chuck Mulloy, a spokesman for the company, said in a statement.
On the downside, Broadcom has filed a court action to block Intel's networking chip shipments. Broadcom says that Intel helped itself to Broadcom's Gigabit Ethernet networking trade secrets and two of the chips Intel is shipping makes use of those secrets. Broadcom also wants the court to appoint a 'big brother' to monitor Intel and make sure the company complys with any court orders.
In the court filing, Broadcom claims that Intel obtained boards with Broadcom's Gigabit Ethernet chip and used the Broadcom chips during demos at two trade shows and also to develop its own competing products.
A spokesperson for Santa Clara-based Intel said Broadcom's claim is "totally without merit. We will present evidence at the hearing that will defend that position."
Broadcom's request for an injunction is part of its retaliation to an Intel suit, filed in March, alleging that Broadcom got access to Intel trade secrets from several former Intel workers who were interviewed and then hired by Broadcom.
Intel sued Broadcom in U.S. District Court in Delaware last month, alleging Broadcom has infringed on five Intel patents.
Broadcom filed its cross-complaint in June and amended it earlier this month before asking for the injunction this week.
In the midst of all these accusations, Intel released three new mobile processors, its fastest yet for 800-MHz and 850MHz Pentium IIIs and a 700-MHz Celeron. Intel is hoping to release its Pentium 4 chip at the end of October.