Taking No Action, FTC Ends Intel Probe - TheStreet

Sure,

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

has its fair share of problems. But at least the Feds are no longer one of them.

The company announced Tuesday that the

Federal Trade Commission

has closed its three-year investigation into whether the company violated antitrust law in its dealings with customers. In March 1999, the FTC had settled separate allegations that Intel unfairly muscled customers

Intergraph

(INGR) - Get Report

,

Compaq

(CPQ)

and

Digital Equipment

(later bought by Compaq).

"The closure of the investigation reflects our view that Intel conducts its business in an ethical and lawful manner," said Intel CEO Craig Barrett. "It also reflects the constructive and professional relationship between Intel and the Bureau of Competition throughout this investigation."

Few on Wall Street were surprised. Fewer still seemed particularly interested.

"That was a nonevent, as far I'm concerned, when it started," says Jack Geraghty, an analyst at

Gerard Klauer Mattison

. "I never thought it was a big deal. So to hear it's over with -- it's OK, next? The focus isn't on that, it's in PC land." (GKM hasn't underwritten for Intel.)

Intel's warning that third-quarter revenue would take a hit from weaker-than-expected European sales has reignited fears that demand for personal computers may not heat up in the second half of 2000, as many have been hoping. The latest data point in the debate over PC demand came this morning from

Micron Electronics

(MUEI)

, which posted earnings of 24 cents a share, well above the 9-cent

First Call/Thomson Financial

consensus.

That wasn't enough to allay investors' concerns about Intel's core business. The stock was extending its slide, down 69 cents, or 1.5%, to $44.69.