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EU accuses Intel of unfair competition

Latest update : 2008-07-18

The European Commission has once again accused US chip giant Intel of unfair competition and of misusing its dominant position against competitor AMD. Intel calls the accusations unfounded.

The European Commission said on Thuesday it suspected US chip giant Intel of fresh instances of unfair competition.
  
The Commission said it had sent a letter to Intel outlining several new complaints about the way the US company had abused its dominant position in the chip market to the disadvantage of its chief rival, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD).
  
The letter contained three charges against Intel -- that it had offered discounts to a major European personal computer distributor to favour its products, paid a PC maker to delay marketing a model line using AMD chips, and also paid it to use Intel's own microprocessors in preference.
  
Intel has eight weeks to respond to the latest Commission complaints and can subsequently seek a hearing in Brussels.
  
If the Commission's findings are sustained, Brussels could demand that Intel stop the alleged abuses and impose a fine.
  
Intel issued a statement calling the accusations "unfounded," saying they are part of a series of similar tactics by AMD, its leading competitor.
  
The Commission's complaint "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," the company said.
  
"It's clear 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."
  
Following an anti-trust investigation of Intel launched six years ago, the Commission sent a list of complaints to the company in July 2007, among them of offering "substantial" rebates to computer makers that mostly used its chips.
  
Europe's top competition watchdog also alleged that Intel had made payments to clients to delay or cancel products using chips made by its US rival AMD, and selling its own chips at below cost in some cases.
  
In May, the European Commission said it intended to rule in its anti-trust case against Intel "as soon as possible" but dismissed a report that it would decide against the company in the coming months.
  
AMD has long accused Intel of using its grip on the market for microchips -- the brains of personal computers -- to choke off competition.
  
Intel's central processing units make up the computing power behind 80 percent of the world's personal computers while AMD controls about 17 percent.

Date created : 2008-07-18

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