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Intel Antitrust Suit to Be Dropped by N.Y. Attorney General

Feb. 9 (Bloomberg) -- New York state has ended its more than two-year-old antitrust suit against Intel Corp. without fining the chipmaker or imposing any restrictions on its conduct.

Intel hasn’t admitted any wrongdoing or agreed to any limitations on its business practices, said Sumner Lemon, a spokesman for the Santa Clara, California-based company. Intel, the world’s largest chipmaker, will pay $6.5 million to cover the cost of some of the litigation, he said.

“While certain other matters are on appeal, this settlement brings to an end what was the last active court-level antitrust litigation involving Intel’s sales conduct,” Lemon said. It “puts an end to any associated expense and distraction from such matters.”

New York sued Intel in November 2009, accusing it of using threats and illegal payments to pressure computer manufacturers to use its chips. Leonard Stark, a U.S. district judge in Delaware who is presiding over the case, canceled the Feb. 14 trial to allow lawyers from both sides to discuss whether the case should be dismissed.

“While we were disappointed by the rulings of the Delaware federal judge handling the matter, it’s important to note that our claims were dismissed on procedural, not substantive grounds,” Jennifer Givner, a spokeswoman for New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, said in an e-mailed statement. “We continue to believe that those claims, which were asserted under the previous administration, had merit, but in light of the court’s decision believe that no purpose is served by pursuing the matter further.”

Scope Narrowed

The judge had earlier thrown out some of the claims against Intel, including one seeking triple damages, and narrowed the scope of the case by saying New York could only focus on computer purchases for a three-year period. State officials had sought to use a six-year period.

The company has fought allegations over the years that it engaged in anticompetitive behavior, and it has paid more than $2.7 billion to resolve antitrust litigation. Intel has outstanding appeals pending against rulings by the European Union and in South Korea.

The case is State of New York v. Intel Corp., 09-cv-827, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

To contact the reporters on this story: Ian King in San Francisco at ianking@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net.

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