On July 16, 2008, the European Commission (“EC”) announced that it would expand its investigation of the Intel Corporation by filing new antitrust charges. The charges allege that Intel provides inducements, such as discounts, rebates, and marketing payments, to computer manufactures discouraging them to use chips made by Intel’s smaller rival Advanced Micro Devices (“AMD”). Intel’s ubiquitous x86 chips are found in 75 percent of all personal computers and low-cost servers.
The EC, the executive branch of the European Union, has been scrutinizing Intel and its practices for the past eight years. In 2006, AMD issued a complaint against Intel and Metro AG, owner of Metro Media, a major German retailer, to the EC. It alleged that Intel and Metro Media had colluded to keep AMD chips out of Metro Media’s stores. In response, the EC raided Intel’s Munich offices and several computer retailers including Metro Media.
Intel has already been investigated by Japanese and Korean Federal Trade Commissions. Recently the U.S. Federal Trade Commission announced that it would investigate Intel’s alleged anticompetitive behavior.