Two years after it conducted dawn raids in Intel offices, the European Commission has told the chip maker that it is suspected of abusing its dominant market position, with the aim of excluding rival AMD from the computer microprocessor market.
On 26 July 2007, the European Commission’s anti-trust department sent a Statement of Objections to Intel, which broadly supports AMD’s claims of anti-competitive behaviour. The Commission says that the confidential statement concerns in particular three practices that Intel has used in order to exclude AMD from the mainboard processor market:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
People at AMD claim that Intel pressed a number of personal computer makers into not equiping more than a certain percentage of PCs with AMD processors, even at times when those were technically in advance of Intel chips and also cheaper than the competing product.
They go on to say that the competitor pressed retailers, such as the Media Markt and Saturn-Hansa chains, both owned by the German Metro corporation, into not selling any AMD products. One of the means of making retailers dependent on Intel, AMD says, is the practice of offering to pay parts of the costs for advertising or even the whole price of ads when the “Intel inside” logo is featured prominently.