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Dixons chins AOL over ‘too dear’ remarks

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Dixons yesterday received a scathing attack from AOL Europe, which accused the retailer of being anti-competitive with its PC prices. The verbal assault coincided with a deal between the ISP and Dixon's old sparring partner Intel to sell PCs in Europe. Andreas Schmidt, head of AOL Europe, accused Dixons of being a "dominant retail force" and of "not being very good for competition". He also claimed that PCs were 50 per cent more expensive in Britain than elsewhere in continental Europe. Dixons immediately leapt to its own defence, claiming the AOL big cheese was talking out of his gruyere. "It's a shame Mr Schmidt did not find out more about the UK market before making such irresponsible remarks," Dixons snarled. The UK high-street giant also cited a report by the Office of Fair Trading, which last month found the UK PC market competitive and offering better choice than in France and Germany. AOL Europe, an Internet joint venture between America Online and Germany's Bertelsmann, said it was also in talks with several hardware vendors. The company revealed it had already secured a deal with Fujitsu Siemens Computers to sell PCs via the phone with CompuServe 2000 Internet access software. New CompuServe customers will get PCs at £999 or £599. Dixons stuck the knife in over the deal, describing it as a "more expensive replica" of what it already offered. ® See related stories Amazon to take on Dixons Intel apologises to Dixons for high price jibe UK PC retailers don't rip off customers

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