Intel raided by EU officials

US COMPUTER chip maker Intel was last week raided by European Commission and local authorities as part of an investigation into possible anti-trust violations.

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By  Rhys Jones Published  July 17, 2005

US COMPUTER chip maker Intel was last week raided by European Commission and local authorities as part of an investigation into possible anti-trust violations. The Commission’s sweep came as Intel’s rival, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), was trying to increase the pressure on the chip maker, which has 90% of world sales of microprocessors for personal computers that run Microsoft Windows and Linux. ”European Union [EU] competition officials, accompanied by officials from national competition authorities, are conducting inspections of several premises of Intel in Europe as well as a number of IT firms manufacturing or selling computers,” said Jonathan Todd a Commission spokesman. “The investigations are being carried out within the framework of an ongoing competition case,” he added. The sweeps took place at Intel’s plants in Swindon, England, and in Munich, Germany. Intel confirmed the raids and said that it is cooperating fully with the Commission. “As is our normal practice, we are fully cooperating with authorities from the EU. Beyond that, we can’t comment on the specifics of the searches but we believe our business practices are both fair and lawful,” said Chuck Malloy, an Intel spokesman at the company’s Santa Clara, California, headquarters. Anti-trust authorities in the United States have said that abuse of dominance or monopolisation cases are their lowest priority, after cartels and mergers. The Commission had let a probe it began four years ago lie dormant until AMD offered new information more than a year ago. “We welcome the dawn raid concerning Intel’s continuing infringement of European competition rules,” read an AMD statement. “AMD has worked with the EU Commission for years and submitted growing evidence of Intel’s illegal activities, including materials from third parties,” it added. AMD has argued to competition authorities around the world, and recently filed lawsuits, alleging that Intel maintains a 90% market share by income and 78% market share by volume by violating antitrust laws. It filed a triple-damages antitrust lawsuit in the US earlier this month, alleging that Intel had used threats and kickbacks in illegally building the world’s top computer chip business. A Dell spokeswoman in the UK confirmed the group’s headquarters in Bracknell, England had been visited by EU officials.

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