Thursday, January 18, 2007

Intel and the European Commission

Oooh, dear, looks like Intel is about to get charged by the European Commission with anti-competetive business practices:


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.

This could seriously hurt. The Commission has the power to fine a company 10% of global turnover. Ouch, that's big for a company the size of Intel.