The competition case against the leading global chipmaker Intel worsened yesterday when the European Commission made public additional allegations of abuse of dominant market position by the US giant, which is notably suspected of pursuing unfair practices against its main rival, AMD.
In the latest development in four-year long investigations into Intel, the Commission announced yesterday (17 July) that it had sent a second formal statement of objections to the California-based chipmaker based on suspicions that it has been violating competition rules in Europe.
Now Intel is publicly under enquiry for having “provided substantial rebates to a leading European personal computer retailer conditional on it selling only Intel-based PCs”. The Commission did not name the retailer. Raids were conducted last year in the offices of the main European electronic goods retailers, notably Media Markt, PPR and DSG International.
The fresh allegation comes on top of previous suspicions that Intel had paid computer manufacturers to incorporate its own processors in their products and delay the launch of PCs based on AMD processors.
The Commission also announced yesterday that it suspects that Intel paid a computer manufacturer in Europe to exclusively incorporate Intel’s processors into its PCs and laptops. Yet again, the Commission did not disclose the name of the PC maker.
Intel has now two months to reply to these allegations. If the responses are deemed insufficient, the Commission could oblige Intel to bring an end to its unfair practices in Europe and eventually fine the US company.
Intel reacted by promising to fully respond to the new statement of objections, “but it is 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,” reads a statement issued by Intel after the Commission’s move.
Intel has been already fined in South Korea over some of the practices under investigation in Europe, notably for giving rebates to computer manufacturers for avoiding the use of AMD processors. Similar probes are ongoing in the US and have been carried out in Japan.