Intel under investigation for anti-competitive practices

Commission officials have raided offices of computer chip maker Intel in four EU countries, investigating alleged anti-competitive behaviour of a company that dominates the market for PC processors.

The raids took place in Germany, Britain, Spain and Italy. Besides Intel, they also concerned a number of other companies, including computer makers Dell and Sony. AMD says that Intel has pressed as many as 38 companies into buying its products.

Intel’s share rose slightly after the news of the raids became public.  

AMD spokesman Jens Drews told EURACTIV: "In an economy, you are supposed to compete on the merits of the product, not on the price that you pay  to companies to make them either buy your product or not buy your competitor's. There is no real market in microprocessors at the moment because the dominant power in it manipulates the field. We want to break down the glass walls that are being put up around us, because in the end it's the consumer who pays the price. Choice is denied to consumers, they cannot buy competing solutions, and due to the lack of competition, prices are higher than they should be."

Intel was not available for comment, but Reuters quotes spokesman Chuck Mulloy from the company's California headquarter as saying: "As is our normal practice, we are fully cooperating with authorities from the EU. Beyond that, we can't comment on the specifics of the searches but we believe our business practices are both fair and lawful." 

  • The worldwide market for PC processors is shared between just two players: Intel, which holds a 90 percent share by income and a 78 percent share by volume, and its sole competitor Advanced Micro Devices (AMD). 
  • AMD has been urging the Commission for a long time to step up its antitrust investigations against Intel, claiming the dominant company has abused its market power to force computer makers not to use AMD chips.
  • Antitrust investigations in Japan have found evidence for AMD's allegations. 

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