FTC wants to hear lawyer Intel tried to ban

Intel's attempt to bar a commissioner from sitting in an antitrust enforcement action against it has been scuppered by the US Federal Trade Commission.

The FTC decided to hear from Commissioner J Thomas Rosch after it was found he would be giving evidence against the corporation. Rosch was employed as an antitrust lawyer by Intel between 1987 and 1993. Intel wanted Rosch barred from the proceedings, but the FTC said Intel hadn't been worried about Rosch's involvement before discovering he might give evidence against it.

"Intel Corporation interacted with Commissioner Rosch for many months, attempting to persuade him to vote against a complaint in this matter without ever voicing a concern about his involvement in the case," the FTC said in a December 18 decision made public last week.

Intel filed an 11th-hour motion to disqualify Rosch on the grounds that "he served as Intel's primary outside antitrust counsel from about 1987 until mid-1993," the FTC said.

The FTC accuses Intel of using its "dominant market position" to strengthen its monopolistic hold on the microprocessor market, by using incentives and arm-twisting to coerce the likes of Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and IBM not to buy rival computer CPUs.

Intel called the charges "misguided and unwarranted" as it paid rival chip maker AMD $1.25 billion to settle its part of a similar argument.