Intel responds to EU antitrust charges

After some delays, the European Commission confirmed this week it has received a written response to the formal antitrust charges it filed against chipmaker Intel.

“We have received the company’s response and are examining it carefully,” said a person close to the competition department.

In July the Commission accused the world’s biggest maker of computer chips of handing out “substantial rebates” to computer manufacturers in return for buying the bulk of their x86 chips from Intel.

It also accused the company of paying computer makers for scrapping or delaying the launch of machines fitted with AMD chips, and of selling its chips for server computers at below cost to large customers such as governments and universities.

Such practices are illegal under European antitrust law when applied by companies that dominate their market, as Intel does.

In addition to the written response filed Monday, Intel has also asked the Commission for the opportunity to respond to the charges face-to-face in an oral hearing, said Chuck Mulloy, a company spokesman in Santa Clara, California. The Commission will decide the date’s oral hearing.

“It will be a while before the hearing. The Commission staff will have to read our substantial response,” Mulloy said.

Intel asked twice for extra time to prepare the written response. The initial deadline was in October. That was shifted to Jan. 4. Then, as the new deadline loomed, Intel asked for the weekend to complete the document.

“There were some loose ends that needed to be addressed. It was nothing unusual,” Mulloy said.

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