[JURIST] The European Commission (EC) confirmed Friday that its Directorate General for Competition [official website] has sent a Statement of Objections (SO) to semiconductor manufacturing giant Intel [corporate website], notifying the company that the EC believes it has abused its dominant position in the x86 architecture [Wikipedia backgrounder] processor market to exclude its biggest rival Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) [corporate website] from the market. The SO, sent Thursday, alleges that Intel violated [press release] the Treaty of Rome's antitrust prohibitions [Article 82 backgrounder] by providing "substantial rebates" to various Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) if the OEMs purchased the majority of their processors from Intel. Intel Senior Vice President and General Counsel Bruce Sewell responded to the allegations Friday, saying that "Intel's conduct has been lawful, pro-competitive, and beneficial to consumers" and that Intel will respond [press release] directly to the EC's concerns. The EC has given the company ten weeks to respond, and may impose fines against Intel if it does not satisfactorily address the EC's concerns.
In January, EC investigators renewed calls for antitrust charges [JURIST report] against Intel after saying in October they had gathered enough evidence for prosecution [JURIST report]. Consumer groups and AMD have repeatedly accused Intel of harming consumers by using coercive business practices to limit competition. AFP has more.