WASHINGTON — The Federal Trade Commission has opened a formal antitrust investigation of Intel, the world’s largest maker of computer microprocessors, for anticompetitive conduct, government officials and lawyers involved in the proceeding said Friday.
The officials and lawyers said that in recent days Intel, its smaller rival Advanced Micro Devices, and several of the world’s largest personal computer makers that buy semiconductors from the two companies have begun to receive subpoenas from the commission.
The investigation into accusations that Intel’s pricing policies have been designed to maintain a near-monopoly on the microprocessor market was authorized by William E. Kovacic, the new chairman of the trade commission, and has the support of the agency’s other commissioners.
It reversed a decision by his predecessor, Deborah P. Majoras, who had been blocking the formal inquiry for many months, frustrating other senior commission officials and some lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
Just as some context, Intel has been already found guilty in antitrust investigations in Japan and South Korea, and is under antitrust investigation in the EU.