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EU publishes decision on Intel's abuse of dominant position
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08:42, September 22, 2009

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The European Commission published here on Monday a decision on Intel's illegal practice to exclude competitors from the market for x86 central processing units (CPUs) computer chips.

In May, Intel was given a record EU antitrust fine of 1.06 billion euros (1.45 billion U.S. dollars) for abuse of dominant position to squeeze out competitor Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD).

The decision, adopted on May 13, "found that Intel broke EC Treaty antitrust rules by engaging in two types of illegal practice to exclude competitors from the market" of CPUs.

"These practices harmed consumers throughout the EEA," the EU's executive commission said a statement.

It said by undermining its competitors' ability to compete on the merits of their products, Intel's actions undermined competition, reduced consumer choice and hindered innovation.

The commission published excerpts of e-mails to provide evidence that Intel implemented a series of conditional rebates to computer manufacturers and to a European retailer and took other measures such as naked restrictions to prevent or delay the launch of computers based on competing products.

EU spokesman Jonathan Todd told a briefing that publication provided "full details of the hard facts on which the commission's decision was based."

"You can see for yourselves the way in which Intel broke the law and deprived millions of European consumers of choice of the type of computer chip they wanted to have in their computers," he said.

Citing an e-mail by Dell Inc. executives in 2003, the decision said that Intel rebates to Dell from December 2002 to December 2005 were conditioned on Dell purchasing exclusively Intel CPUs.

The e-mail warned that buying more AMD chips could end up with retaliation from Intel that would be "severe and prolonged with impact to all lines of business," and Intel would strip Dell's rebate to zero "for at least one quarter while Intel investigates the details."

The EU also quoted e-mails from Hewlett Packard Co.'s executives and NEC. Corp.'s to show that Intel used rebates and naked restrictions to these two and other computer makers.

Intel payments to Media Saturn Holding (MSH), Europe's largest PC retailer, were conditioned on MSH selling exclusively Intel-based PCs from October 2002 to December 2007, the EU said, quoting a submission to the commission by MSH as saying "It was clear to MSH in this regard that the sale of AMD-equipped computers would result at least in a reduction of the amount of Intel's contribution payments per Intel CPU under the contribution agreements."

The U.S. chip-maker denied the charges and is appealing to the EU courts.

Source:Xinhua



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