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The Associated Press
NEW YORK — Legal challenges to Intel Corp.’s sales tactics mounted Wednesday as New York’s attorney general accused the world’s biggest computer chip maker of using “illegal threats and collusion” to dominate, including pressure on Dell and IBM before it sold its personal computing division to Lenovo.
In filing a federal antitrust lawsuit in court in Delaware, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo accused Intel of using its market prowess to “rule with an iron fist.”
Intel’s chips act as the “brains” of 80 percent of the world’s personal computers. Cuomo said Intel paid billions of dollars in kickbacks to computer manufacturers and retaliated against those that did too much business with Intel’s competitors, namely Advanced Micro Devices Inc.
“Rather than compete fairly, Intel used bribery and coercion to maintain a stranglehold on the market,” Cuomo said in a written statement. “Intel’s actions not only unfairly restricted potential competitors, but also hurt average consumers who were robbed of better products and lower prices.”
An Intel spokesman, Chuck Mulloy, denied the latest charges, as the company has in the past, and said Intel’s sales practices were legitimate.
Computer maker Dell Inc. alone was paid almost $2 billion in such rebates in 2006, the state said, in exchange for an agreement not to market products from AMD.
The lawsuit said the fear felt by Intel’s customers was revealed in internal e-mails, including one from an IBM Corp. executive who wondered in 2005 whether the company would risk too much by strengthening its business ties to AMD.