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January 8, 2008 2:00 am

Intel meets EU antitrust deadline

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Intel, the world’s biggest chipmaker, on Monday met a deadline to respond to antitrust charges from the European Commission.

The Commission said it had received a formal reply to allegations that Intel attempted to drive smaller rival Advanced Micro Devices out of the market by selling its chips below cost and offering big rebates to customers.

The charges were made in July last year after an investigation following a complaint by AMD. The Commission alleged that Intel gave large discounts to computer manufacturers that bought almost all their chips from it, and sold below cost to major PC server providers to undercut AMD.

It also allegedly paid one manufacturer to “delay or cancel the launch of a product line” incorporating an AMD chip.

Intel will now have the right to a hearing to discuss the issue, but could be fined up to 10 per cent of turnover and have to change its practices, if Brussels is not convinced.

Intel refused to divulge details of its response on Monday.

“We filed the response, we also asked for an oral hearing. We are not characterising the response in any way,” said Chuck Mulloy, Intel spokesman.

“We continue to believe that the microprocessor market is functioning normally to the benefit of consumers.”

Intel was expected to deny the allegations, said a Brussels lobbyist who did not wish to be named.

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