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FTC: Oak Trail can ship without PCIe

The US Federal Trade Commission has opened the doors for Intel's Oak Trail platform to ship without support for the PCI Express interface standard, modifying its original anti-trust settlement order with the company.

The order, which was placed on Intel following findings that it had been engaging in anti-competitive practices that sought to exclude rivals including AMD from the marketplace, originally stated that all Intel platforms sold for the next six years would have to include a PCI Express interface, in order that third-party GPUs from AMD and Nvidia could be connected in to the system.

While Intel signed the agreement, it argued that its upcoming Oak Trail platform, aimed at low-power ultra-portable devices such as tablets, should be excluded from the order as its design was finalised before the FTC agreed on the restriction.

It seems that the FTC has agreed with Intel's reasoning, issuing a modification to the settlement order that grants the company the right to ship Oak Trail sans PCIe until June 2013, but notes that "all future generations of this chip must fully comply with all specifications of the final Order."

It's a win for Intel, which can now go ahead with its plans for Oak Trail, but a loss for its competitors: companies like Nvidia, which offers mobile-friendly graphics chips that could be a good pairing with Intel's latest low-power platform, won't get a look-in until Oak Trail's replacement is ready.