Brussels: The European Union’s top regulator levelled on Friday formal antitrust charges against Intel, the world’s biggest computer chip maker, on suspicion that it has abused its dominant market position.
The regulator, the European Commission, said it had sent a “statement of objections” -- the first formal step towards possible fines -- to Intel on July 26 alleging that it had tried to exclude main rival AMD from the market.
“First, Intel has provided substantial rebates to various Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) conditional on them obtaining all or the great majority of their CPU requirements from Intel,” the Commission said in a statement.
“Secondly, in a number of instances, Intel made payments in order to induce an OEM to either delay or cancel the launch of a product line incorporating an AMD-based CPU (Computer Processing Unit).
“Thirdly, in the context of bids against AMD-based products for strategic customers in the server segment of the market, Intel has offered CPUs on average below cost,” the statement said.
The Commission, which polices competition issues in the EU, said that the “three types of conduct reinforce each other and are part of a single overall anti-competitive strategy”.
Brussels gave Intel 10 weeks to respond, after which time it will have the right to an oral hearing. If its suspicions are confirmed, the Commission could impose a fine.