Intel slams EC over antitrust evidence

Intel has hit back at the European Commission, after it was found guilty of anticompetitive behaviour yesterday.


Intel has hit back at the European Commission, after it was found guilty of anticompetitive behaviour.

The chip giant has accused the regulator of being selective with evidence it looked at and, essentially, setting out to find the company guilty.

Intel's statement came on the same day the EC released a document that detailed email exchanges between Intel and computer manufacturers. EC antitrust officials described the email exchanges as "smoking gun" evidence in the probe, which resulted in the company being fined €1.06 billion in May.

In its Monday statement, Intel attacked the EC's handling of the case.

"Intel has reluctantly concluded that the Commission initiated the investigation with a predisposed view to alter the results of competition, and consequently tended to assess the evidence with a prosecutorial bent to confirm its point of view. In doing so, it ignored or minimised - and indeed at times even refused to obtain - important evidence that contradicted its view of the world. The result was a consistently one-sided and result-oriented selection and interpretation of the evidence," Intel wrote in the document, which is available on the chip maker's website.

The EC also failed to understand the competitive context of the x86 processor and PC markets and the way in which Intel competes with chief competitor AMD, Intel said.

The Commission earlier ruled that Intel negotiated rebate deals with system manufacturers like Dell, HP and Lenovo in order to shut out competition from its closest rival, AMD.

The 518-page, public version of the ruling, published yesterday, revealed email messages showing how Intel and PC makers negotiated deals to supply chips through rebate agreements. The deals discouraged PC makers from buying AMD processors, so they started using Intel chips almost exclusively, according to the ruling.

"Late last week Lenovo cut a lucrative deal with Intel. As a result of this, we will not be introducing AMD-based products in 2007 for our Notebook products," a Lenovo executive wrote in a December 2006 internal email, according to the text of the ruling. However, Intel denied the existence of any exclusivity conditions in the discounts it offered Lenovo.

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