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Intel disputes EU's probing procedure

Second one's always a doozy

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Intel wants a temporary time-out from its latest scrap with the European Commission to debate the way the EU is proceeding with the latest round of anti-trust charges.

The chip maker said it has filed an appeal with the Court of First Instance related to a "substantive procedural dispute" with the Directorate General for Competition.

In July, Intel was issued a Statement of Objections by the Commission accusing it of giving rebates to a retailer on the condition it sold only Intel-based PCs, paying an original equipment manufacturer to delay the launch of a line of AMD-based products and later offering that same OEM big rebates if it used Intel chips exclusively for its laptops.

"The issuance of a second SO suggests that the Commission supports AMD's position that Intel should be prevented from competing fairly and offering price discounts which have resulted in lower prices for consumers," the company responded.

Intel spokesman Chuck Mulloy said he couldn't divulge specifics on the dispute, but the appeal is related to Intel's ability to conduct a full defense.

"In our view it's about the fundamental fairness of the issue," he said.

Reuters reports the latest dispute is about a deadline extension, however Mulloy tells El Reg that Intel was already given an unrelated extension until October 17.

"The sticking point now relates to this procedural issue," he said. The effect of the appeal, however, will be a further delay Intel's response.

The company was issued its first round of formal charges for its business practices against rival AMD in July 2007, but it has been under EC investigation since 2001. ®

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