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EC preps Intel antitrust charges - report

Six-year probe drawing to a conclusion?

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European Commission investigators have called on the organisation to bring Intel to book over alleged anti-competitive business practices.

There's no official word on the outcome of the EU's long-running probe into claims that Intel abused its market lead to hinder its competitors, but according to the Wall Street Journal today, citing sources said to be close to the probe, investigators will recommend formal charges against the chip giant.

The key word is 'recommend', and EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes has asked for more details before making her decision, the WSJ reports. Bbut it's hard to imagine that she reject the advice of her staff.

The EU has examined Intel's business practices in Europe for six years, but the investigation was renewed somewhat in 2005 after AMD formally accused its arch-rival of anti-competitive actions, launching legal action in Japan and the US. The lawsuits followed a ruling by Japan's competition watchdog that Intel had abused its market leadership there.

That's a charge Intel denies, similarly rejecting such claims in other markets. Even so, EC officials raided Intel premises in July 2005, as part their investigation.

In July 2006, AMD formally complained to the German government that Intel colluded with the retail giant Metro Group's Media Markt and Saturn store chains. German investigators later delivered evidence to the EC probe. ®

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