updated 11:00 am EDT, Fri July 27, 2007
Euro Claims Intel Monopoly
The European Commission today officially filed objections against Intel, accusing the American chipmaker of abusing its lead in the market to hurt rivals such as AMD. The non-binding allegations claim that Intel has not only offered substantial price cuts to system builders that offered most or all of their systems with Intel CPUs but has actively sabotaged attempts to offer AMD systems, in some cases paying to have systems based on Athlons and other AMD chips delayed or canceled altogether. Some bulk processor sales were also made below cost to prevent AMD from competing, the EC says.
The regulatory body argued that these behaviors in combination made it clear that Intel was trying to force AMD out of the market entirely and that the California company may be forced to change its approaches or pay fines. The firm has up to 10 weeks to respond to the European agency and can present its opinion in a public hearing, which the EC will use to help determine whether an actual court case is needed.
Intel has openly rejected the accusation, noting that it was AMD which prompted the concerns rather than end users or suppliers, who would be immediately affected by the lack of choices. Any deals struck were made fairly and were ultimately helpful, said Intel's senior VP Bruce Sewell in a public statement.
"We are confident that the microprocessor market segment is functioning normally and that Intel's conduct has been lawful, pro-competitive, and beneficial to consumers," he said. "The Commission's decision to issue a Statement of Objections means that at last Intel will have the opportunity to hear and respond to the allegations."