EC refuses delay in Intel anti-trust hearing

A European court on Tuesday rejected a request from Intel to postpone a deadline in the European Commission's antitrust proceedings.

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A European court on Tuesday rejected a request from Intel to postpone a deadline in the European Commission's antitrust proceedings against the company.

The Court of First Instance (CFI) in Luxembourg also rejected a request to allow Intel to access certain documents from Advanced Micro Devices that it said it needed in order to file a response in the antitrust case.

Failure by Intel to delay the case clears the way for the Commission to issue its long-awaited ruling.

A European court on Tuesday rejected a request from Intel to postpone a deadline in the European Commission's antitrust proceedings.

Intel spokesman Robert Manetta said the company is now considering all its options, which include appealing the decision to the top court, the Court of Justice.

The Commission has charged Intel with anticompetitive behavior in the market for x86 microprocessors by allegedly offering rebates and selling chips below cost to PC makers and retail stores.

The investigation began in 2000 when AMD filed a complaint against Intel with the Commission.

Intel earlier demanded access to AMD documents cited in the Commission's formal charges and an extension to the Oct. 17 deadline for written responses to the Commission's formal charges. Intel did not respond by the deadline.

Intel spokesman Robert Manetta said the company is now considering all its options, which include appealing the decision to the top court, the Court of Justice.

"We are very concerned about the lack of certain documents in the case file," Manetta said in a phone interview. He wouldn't confirm that the documents Intel wants to see are from AMD.

"The Commission is pleased that the CFI President has confirmed that the Commission's anti-trust investigation should not be suspended.

The Commission's investigation remains ongoing," the Commission said in a statement. The CFI is part of the Court of Justice of the European Communities and hears cases bought by companies against the European Commission.

AMD, which in the past has accused Intel of using the appeal as a ploy to delay antitrust proceedings, was pleased with the ruling.

"We are not surprised by the Court's decision to reject Intel's application.

The Order is entirely consistent with the continuous and clear case law on this issue and Intel's appeal was simply an attempt to delay the Commission's decision making process," said Tom McCoy, AMD's executive vice president of legal, corporate and public affairs in a statement.

An Intel spokesman said the ruling will have no impact on antitrust proceedings.

Intel is disappointed with Tuesday's ruling on interim measures, but it has no bearing on the merits of this case, said Chuck Mulloy, an Intel spokesman.

If found guilty by the Commission, the company could face a hefty fine of up to 10 percent of its global sales. Last year Intel made sales worth almost $40 billion worldwide.

(Paul Meller in Brussels contributed to this report.)

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