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EC confirms closure of Intel investigation

The European Commission has decided to close its year-long antitrust investigation of PC chipmaker Intel.

"The Commission carefully examined the complaints it received concerning Intel and has concluded that they are not founded," said EC spokeswoman, Amelia Torres.

To close the case, the European competition regulator must first inform the one remaining complainant, believed to be rival chipmaker, AMD. Another complaint, believed to have come from Via Technologies, another was recently withdrawn, Torres said.

The complaints that prompted the investigation claimed that Intel abused its dominant position in the European market by tying in customers through its loyalty-based marketing campaign, which features the "Intel Inside" slogan.

They also alleged that Intel hindered competition by licensing the design of its bus architecture, which connects chips with other functions inside a computer.

If the Intel complainants object to the informal dismissal, they can take steps to oblige the regulators to make a formal decision.

''Once there is a formal decision to drop the case, the rivals can then attack that decision in court,'' a lawyer familiar with the case said.

AMD and Via Technologies admitted last year that they had provided information to the Commission as part of the Intel inquiry, but neither would comment on whether it had filed the original complaint.

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