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EU: EU hits Intel with fresh charges

BBC News
July 17th, 2008

European regulators have filed fresh charges against the world's biggest computer chip maker Intel over alleged abuse of its dominant market position.

The European Commission (EC) accused the firm of paying a leading European retailer not to stock products containing chips made by rival AMD.

It is also accused of giving incentives to PC makers to switch to Intel chips.

Intel, which has eight weeks to respond to the allegations, said it was disappointed with the EC's claims.

The Commission has also accused Intel of paying the PC maker to delay the planned launch of a product containing AMD chips.

'Considerable muscle'

The EC said Intel "used its considerable muscle to provide substantial rebates to a leading European PC retailer - conditional on it selling only Intel-based PCs".

Intel said in a statement it was disappointed with the Commission's claims.

"The issuance of a second Statement of Objections suggests that the Commission supports AMD's position that Intel should be prevented from competing fairly and offering price discounts which have resulted in lower prices for consumers."

Intel added that "the allegations stem from the same set of complaints that our competitor, AMD, has been making to regulators and courts around the world for more than 10 years".

The company has eight weeks to respond to the Commission's three new charges and can seek a hearing in Brussels.

Rebates

It is not the first row between the US technology firm and regulators in Brussels.

In February, EU officials raided Intel's German office amid claims it abused its market position.

Last summer, the Commission unveiled the initial results of a probe that claimed Intel engaged in anti-competitive action to thwart AMD.

Brussels accused the world's largest chipmaker of giving rebates to customers provided they bought Intel products and offered incentives to companies to delay or cancel products containing AMD technology.

European regulators have the power to fine Intel up to 10% of annual turnover if they find it guilty of stifling competition.




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