AMD accuses Intel of trying to stall EC antitrust case

AMD accuses Intel of trying to stall the EU's antitrust case against the company.

Chip maker Advanced Micro Devices has accused Intel of deliberately stalling a European Union antitrust investigation through Intel's appeal to Europe's second highest court in October, a senior AMD executive said Wednesday.

Intel complained to the Court of First Instance (CFI) in Luxembourg that the European Commission, Europe's top antitrust authority, was "discriminatory" and "partial" in its pursuit of the long-running case against the world's biggest chip manufacturer.

It demanded access to AMD documents cited in the Commission's formal charges and an extension to the mid-October deadline for written responses to those charges. Intel allowed the deadline to pass without responding to it.

Jens Drews, AMD's director of government relations for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, dismissed Intel's move as posturing, designed to drag the case out. "This seems to be another attempt by Intel to delay the Commission's proceedings; proceedings which have yielded evidence and formal charges that Intel illegally abused its monopoly power," Drews said.

Similar arguments were made by an official close to the Commission's antitrust case. He said that the case handlers would continue building their case, despite the failure of Intel to submit a written response, and in spite of its appeal to the CFI.

The Commission refused to grant Intel the extension it requested, having already granted the company an extension in an earlier part of the case, the official said, pointing out that the Commission had fulfilled its legal obligations by granting Intel the right of response.

He added that if the antitrust case handlers put the whole case on ice, pending the CFI's ruling "that would amount to an open invitation to companies to apply similar delaying tactics in future."

Intel denied it is trying to stall proceedings, explaining that its appeal to the CFI is grounded in "fundamental fairness issues," said its London-based spokesman Robert Manetta.

Intel has been accused of abusing its dominant position in the computer chip market, and more specifically, of attempting to shut its nearest rival AMD out of the CPU market.

Intel allegedly sold chips below cost and paid rebates to a computer maker and a chain of retail stores, which have not been named officially, in exchange for a commitment to only sell the company's processors and not rival products. The chip maker also allegedly paid the computer maker to delay the launch of products based on AMD chips.

Intel claims it is innocent and has said it expects to be cleared of the charges.

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Paul Meller

IDG News Service
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