Published: Aug 04, 2010 6:39 PM EDT
Updated: Aug 04, 2010 3:37 PM EDT

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The Federal Trade Commission calls its settlement announced today with Intel as a victory for consumers who have overpaid for computer chips for a decade. However, computer buyers shouldn't expect a sudden drop in prices.

The deal appears to mark the end to the harshest antitrust lawsuit Intel has faced yet from government regulators, and it imposes the strictest set of changes onto the way Intel does business.

But any changes as a result of the FTC's actions would likely be gradual, and possibly imperceptible, to most people.  One reason is that the prices for computer chips have steadily fallen anyway as technological advancements make it cheaper for companies such as Intel to make more powerful chips.

The FTC's case is built on the argument that those prices haven't fallen as fast as they could have.