EU slaps Intel with formal antitrust charges

As suspected, the European Union formally lodged antitrust charges against Intel, accusing the CPU maker of using illegal methods to compete against its main rival AMD. "I can confirm the statement of objections has been sent," European Commission spokesperson Ton Van Lierop said in a statement given to Reuters. This action represents the culmination of years of antitrust investigation by the EU—and is likely beginning of a very unpleasant experience for Intel. While the exact Statement of Objection (SO) has not yet been made public, the EU charges that Intel used illegal methods to coerce OEM computer manufacturers to ship systems with Intel rather than AMD processors.

The investigation in Europe has been going on for a long time. Intel's European offices were raided by EU investigators in 2005. Last year, AMD filed a formal complaint with the Bundeskartellamt, the German Federal Cartel Office, accusing a German and Intel of entering into an agreement under which the German retailer would only sell Intel PCs in exchange for undisclosed payments from Intel. The EC quickly took over that investigation from the Bundeskartellamt.

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Is anyone else worried about a supposedly democratic organization that only has a very small amount of their officials democratically elected that makes laws about about most of Europes trade? And don't say they're like NAFTA or the WTO becase they didn't establish a universal currency and they dont always appear in the news about pointless antitrust cases that do nothing but make companies that make products that Europeans want anyways lose money.

Another mock trial, more billions for the EU. Wake me when things change.

Corporations in the EU should think long and hard about their future; it's only a matter of time before the eye turns to them.

EC have givin' Intel a fair cop, Intel fully was aware of what it was doing was illegal chose to do it anyway so they can pay the price.

the deal with microsoft is a bit iffy but this one just blunt idiocy on intel behalf but they would have been fully aware this was coming, so they deserve it.

Personally, I've had it up to my nosehairs with the EC. But in this case, if the people at Intel really were paying OEMs to shut out AMD instead of just making better processors to improve their market share (which we now all know they can), then they deserve a stick upside their heads for being STUPID!

I'm not for the kind of serial extortion that the EC has pulled on Microsoft, but in this instance, maybe one good fat fine would show them the error of their ways.

It's really not that difficult concept to understand.. if you want to do business in a foreign country, you'll have to obey the local laws. In US it might be ok to force a retailer to stop selling competitors products via bribery/extortion but it isn't legal in EU.

No wonder some electronics cost more than in the US, companies have to save up for the inevitable EU hit. Worst part is customers are the ones that end up paying for this.

Customers pay if the EU DOESN'T act. If companies like Microsoft and Intel destroy the competition that leaves them able to increase their prices, and thus their profit margin, with no competition in place to stop them - this is the EXACT reason for anti-competitive legislation. And again, there has been no fine imposed upon Intel. What you said is just plain wrong.

i don't understand why the EU, aside from milking more cash from US companies, is taking this on (it would be different if one of the companies was home grown). seems to me that if they have a problem with the way two US companies are competing, they should inform the US govt and present any any evidence, and let them deal with it... i mean, its not like the US shys away from taking these on when it needs to.

If the crime is committed in Europe don't you think that the European authorities should deal with it.

If a European murdered a European in America don't you think he should be tried the US rather than in the European courts?

thornz0 said,
(it would be different if one of the companies was home grown)

That's absolutely ridiculous - I think it just shows the mentality of US corporations that think they are above the law. It's very sad if you think the EU sits there just picking on innocent US companies that couldn't possibly have done anything wrong. NEway, there is no mention of any fine being imposed upon Intel - this is just an objection to their illegal business practices.

Sometimes I honestly think this forum is full of idiots that have little grasp of how the world works and only listen to political propaganda put out to support a nationalist agenda. If a company breaks the law then that needs to be addressed... even IF the EU was only targeting US businesses (of which there is NO evidence to support) that STILL means that they broke the law in the first place regardless of whether businesses from within the EU did the same.

i mean, its not like the US shys away from taking these on when it needs to

No, but it's happy to back down as soon as money is waved in its direction.

I don't really see what the problem is. If Intel are paying retailers to only sell Intel PC's then in the long run it's harming the customer... for example the people above that seem to be complaining.

This was all over the news couple of years ago, Intel indeed used illegal methods (also illegal in USA, but they made that crime in GERMANY). So why shouldn't they be punished?

If I remember it correctly, police found that Intel payed computer manufacturers to keep AMD out.

If I remember it correctly, police found that Intel payed computer manufacturers to keep AMD out.

Correct. Why they kept evidence against themselves is beyond me.

Joni_78 said,
This was all over the news couple of years ago, Intel indeed used illegal methods (also illegal in USA, but they made that crime in GERMANY). So why shouldn't they be punished?

If I remember it correctly, police found that Intel payed computer manufacturers to keep AMD out.

as an intel reseller I get REBATES for products I sell and thats perfectly legal even if I do not pass that on to the customer or to the customer right away

IF i was the U.S. and the EU is doing this i do something. Its startign to get to the point where the EU is handing out fines to EVERY american company.

If they keep the U.S. government will have to do something.

Yes because breaking laws is OK!!

It's not as if the EU targets only American companies, BAE systems the UK's biggest arms manufacturer is currently under investigation for bribery by the EU.

I'd bet Microsoft is sending a few cases of vasoline to Intel with a note that says, "Haha, your turn... Enjoy the gift, you'll need it!" x)

I wonder who's next on their list.

The EU is just like the NAACP. Always bitching about something, trying to get something else for free.

WHY WOULD THEY NOT WANT FREE MONEY?

there are already a bunch of nice products coming out of Europe... Red-Gate makes some nice SQL Server tools... GFI (German) makes a good anti-spam program for Exchange... lots of nice stuff coming out of Europe...

maybe some day the Europeans will make something on their own...

What a ridiculous comment to make. You know, as if Charles Babbage one of the fathers of modern computing contributed nothing... and Tim Berners Lee creating the World Wide Web as we know it.. or the jet engine as designed by Sir Frank Whittle and Dr. Hans von Ohain.

Think before you open your mouth.

AMD asked the EU to look into Intel's business practices.

Now if you had your house robbed and you reported it would you expect the police not to investigate and charge someone if they found evidence that they were guilty?

paulhaskew said,
guess the cash cow of M$ is dwindling so they gotta hit up another company for some more money to keep the Euro high...

Do you honestly believe that or are you just trying to be cool? If you do then that is very sad and it shows you obviously have little grasp on economics or the reality of what these businesses get up to. Intel and Microsoft have BOTH abused their position, putting pressure on OEMs in an anti-competitive manner. It is good that the EU is protecting the interests of its citizens rather than pandering to big business like the US government.