The European Commission today issued its statement of objections against chip giant Intel, accusing it of anti-competitive behaviour. As we reported earlier, the world's number one maker of processor chips had been awaiting the verdict of a long-running investigation into the firm's alleged anti-trust business practice against rival firm AMD.
Intel's senior vice president Bruce Sewell strongly defended the firm's position, and said in a 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 added that Intel would liked to have avoided being hit by hefty costs to prove its conduct had been legal, but 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 made by our primary competitor."
The commission has accused Intel of being guilty of abusing its dominant market position in at least three separate ways that it reckoned could be linked together as "a single overall anti-competitive strategy".
It said in a statement:
First, Intel has provided substantial rebates to various Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) conditional on them obtaining all or the great majority of their CPU requirements from Intel.
Secondly, in a number of instances, Intel made payments in order to induce an OEM to either delay or cancel the launch of a product line incorporating an AMD-based CPU.
Thirdly, in the context of bids against AMD-based products for strategic customers in the server segment of the market, Intel has offered CPUs on average below cost.
Meanwhile, AMD voiced its opinion on the Commission's statement: "Intel has circled the globe with a pattern of conduct, including direct payments, in order to enforce full and partial boycotts of AMD.
"The EU [European Union] action obviously suggests that Intel has, once again, been unable to justify its illegal conduct," said AMD legal affairs executive vice president Thomas M McCoy. ®