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EU complaint is just more of the same, says Intel

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Intel has delivered a weary response to the latest European Commission's Statement of Objections which accused it of anti-competitive behaviour.

The Statement accused Intel of providing rebates to a retailer provided they sold only Intel-based PCs, of paying an original equipment manufacturer to delay the launch of a line of AMD-based products, and later offering the same OEM big rebates if they used only Intel chips for its laptops.

Intel denied the accusations and said it is confident the European market is working effectively.

Intel said: "We’re naturally disappointed the Commission has decided to issue a new SO [Statement of Objections]. The issuance of a second SO suggests that the Commission supports AMDs position that Intel should be prevented from competing fairly and offering price discounts which have resulted in lower prices for consumers.

"We will evaluate this newest SO and respond fully, but it’s 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 ten years.

"We are confident that the worldwide microprocessor market is functioning normally and is highly competitive in Europe and elsewhere. Intel's conduct has always been lawful, pro-competitive and beneficial to consumers. As evidence of the existence of a highly competitive and innovative microprocessor market, consumers have benefited from prices that have gone down significantly, output has increased many times over, and the performance of products, including ours, has improved exponentially.

"We are confident that our response will show that the allegations in the SO are unfounded."

The Computer and Communications Industry Association said it was more important to stop anti-competive action than punish companies for engaging in it.

Ed Black, president and CEO of the CCIA, said: "There is now a clear pattern of ongoing and durable anti-competitive practices by Intel which needs to be halted.

“These new allegations involving retailers and manufactures are serious because if true, they would negate Intel’s previous arguments that its rebates to computer manufacturers helped consumers because they kept computer prices low... Intel recently beefed up its Washington lobbying office. The speculation is the company did this in hopes of mitigating what are likely to be a string of legal defeats involving its anti-competitive practices."

Intel has eight weeks to respond to the charges. ®

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