EC closes in on Intel antitrust case
We seem to be moving towards the business-end of the European Intel anti-trust case.
It’s not the end, but maybe the beginning of the end – the European Commission is charging Intel with three anti-trust offences. The chip giant has ten weeks to respond and will be attending an oral hearing, with a fine in prospect. (Intel is accused of strategically selling PC processors at below cost to exclude AMD, giving ‘substantial rebates’ to Intel-only shops, and paying customers to try to make them delay or cancel the launch of products including AMD-based chips.) For it’s part, Intel has pointed out that “a Statement of Objections contains only preliminary allegations and does not itself amount to a finding that there has been a violation of European Union law”. It has also highlighted that the original complaint came from a rival (AMD) rather than than consumers. “The case is based on complaints from a direct competitor rather than customers or consumers. The Commission has an obligation to investigate those complaints. However, a Statement of Objections contains only preliminary allegations and does not itself amount to a finding that there has been a violation of European Union law,” reads its statement, Intel States Its Actions in Europe Benefit Consumers It is all very reminiscent of the long Microsoft anti-trust case. But those who only remember Microsoft avoiding the threats of ‘quartering’ (separating the business into different units) should remember that the case still hasn’t fizzled out in Europe. Compared to the backtracking seen by US authorities, the EC is still pursuing Microsoft over opening up access to its server-side software. Whether the EC’s bark is worse than its bite when it comes to the Intel anti-trust case, still remains to be seen.