US FTC closes investigation into Cisco

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has closed its inquiry into partnership talks between Cisco Systems, Lucent Technologies and Nortel Networks, and has decided not to investigate the matter further, according to Cisco.

The FTC opened its investigation last September and, according to a published report at that time, the agency was checking into whether Cisco wanted its competitors to agree to divide the network market.

The FTC, citing agency policy, up to now has declined to confirm or deny the investigation or to otherwise comment. Yesterday, a spokeswoman for the commission confirmed only that the investigation has ended.

The FTC asked Cisco for information about separate talks with executives at Nortel and Lucent regarding "potential business opportunities to serve new and emerging communications markets", Cisco officials said yesterday.

The talks ended months before the inquiry began, a Cisco executive said at the time the investigation was announced. Cisco contended all along that its objective was to create new partnerships leading to decreased costs and more choice for consumers.

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