Investigators from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are set to extend their inquiries into Intel's business by focusing on other areas than patents.
According to several, unconnected reports, the FTC will broaden its case against the chip giant by investigating whether its introduction of proprietary Slot One technology put competitors, including Cyrix, AMD and Centaur-IDT at a disadvantage.
The reports said that the FTC is also looking at whether Intel's 85 per cent market share in chip sets is bad for the IT industry, whether the Intel Inside campaign forced PC vendors down the Intel path and whether it intends to dominate the graphics market with systems based on its i746 chip.
Intel said today that it would not comment on the speculation but maintained its position that the FTC was mistaken in pursuing the company for alleged monopolistic practices.
"The FTC's position is inconsistent with decisions the US supreme court has made in the past," a representative said.
But Graham Jackson, application manager for Cyrix products in Europe, said it supported any FTC investigations.
"From our point of view, we would like an open playing field," he said. "Lots of people run promotions like Intel Inside but they don't start off with such a strong position in the market."
Chip sets, he said, were a different matter.
"Intel has said it has licensed its chip set to one company but we don't know who that is yet," he said.
When he was at the Computex show in Taipei last week, Jackson said that he had seen various Slot One chip sets but he did not know if Intel had licensed companies like ALI and VIA to produce them.
He said that as far as graphics companies were concerned, there was sufficient competition to Intel in the market but the different players needed to get together to set a high performance floating point standard.
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