EC resumes Intel business practices checks

The European Commission has sent letters to PC suppliers and retailers throughout Europe concerning Intel's business practices,...

The European Commission has sent letters to PC suppliers and retailers throughout Europe concerning Intel's business practices, two years after the commission concluded that an earlier complaint from rival Advanced Micro Devices was unfounded.

"We are indeed still investigating this complaint. Our investigation remains at a preliminary stage," said Amelia Torres, a spokeswoman for the commission.

AMD filed a complaint with the commission in 2000 concerning Intel's marketing and licensing practices in Europe. In 2002, Torres said the complaint was unfounded and that the commission planned to close the complaint soon, but it never did.

Since 2002, AMD has provided the commission with information that it considered relevant to the original complaint, said Mike Simonoff.

Simonoff was unable to comment on the specific information that sparked the renewed investigation, but confirmed AMD had recently provided information about Intel to the commission.

The commission has yet to ask Intel any further questions about its business practices in Europe, said Chuck Mulloy, an Intel spokesman.

"We believe our business practices are fair and lawful," Mulloy said, adding that Intel will co-operate with the investigation.

The renewal of the investigation is unrelated to a case before the US Supreme Court between Intel and AMD over how information in US court cases can be shared with international courts, Simonoff said.

AMD hoped to use testimony provided by Intel in a patent case with Intergraph against the company in Europe. 

AMD expects a ruling later this month.

Tom Krazit writes for IDG News Service

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