Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), the world’s largest semiconductor company which accounts for about 76% of the worldwide market for microprocessors for PCs and servers (according to a WSJ report), is facing new antitrust charges from European regulators.
The new charges, which could be brought as soon as Thursday, would allege that the world’s top chipmaker gave major European retailers inducements not to sell computers that use chips from smaller rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc (NYSE:AMD), the people told the paper.
This is not the first anticompetitive allegations filed against Intel.
During fiscal ‘05, chip maker Advanced Micro Devices filed a lawsuit against Intel for abuse of its dominance of the $280 billion chip market. AMD claimed Intel had forced PC makers to boycott Advanced Micro Devices, “threatened retaliation” against customers using or selling AMD processors and offered rebates to customers designed to block the purchase of AMD’s products.
The Journal said that the European Commission, the European Union’s executive arm, has been looking critically at Intel for nearly eight years.
Certainly, these latest developments against the co. from European regulators, would be another blow to Intel. Last month the world’s largest semiconductor said it faces a formal investigation by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. In addition, on June 4, South Korea’s antitrust watchdog fined the company for offering hundreds of millions of dollars worth of “incentives” to two Korean computer makers not to buy microprocessors from A.M.D.
Intel spokesman Chuck Mulloy, when asked about the possibility of new charges said: “We are continuing to cooperate and really don’t know what the commission will do. We believe we operate within the law.” he concluded.
A spokesman for EU Antitrust Commissioner Neelie Kroes said the Intel probe is “ongoing.”