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EC raids Dell in Intel anti-trust probe

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The European Competition Commission raided Dell's office last week at the same time as it was rifling through Intel's files, as part of an anti-trust investigation into the chip-maker.

A spokesman for the Competition Commission told us that it had visited Dell's offices, and that this was linked with the Intel investigation. He added that there is no indication at this stage that Dell has behaved improperly.

"The centre of our investigation is Intel's practises in selling its chips," he told us. "In connection with that, we are also talking to lots of Intel's customers," of which Dell is one.

The news follows accusations from the channel that Dell had been taking a loss on contracts in the UK specifically to keep the channel out.

Gordon Davies, commercial director at systems integrator Compusys, told us he first noticed Dell being particularly aggressive in pitching against the channel about 18 months ago, shortly after Intel's Paul Otellini spoke publicly about how important the channel is to the chip maker.

There has also been speculation that Dell's activities could have been funded by marketing subsidies from Intel in the US. The Register understands that the Commission is taking this speculation very seriously in its investigation.

According to a report in channel mag Microscope, Dell confirmed that the Commission had paid a visit last Tuesday (12 July). The visit reportedly lasted for two days, and Dell said it has been cooperating with investigators.

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