The European Commission is understood to have rekindled a three year-old investigation into semiconductor giant Intel, and is expected to ask tough questions about the market practices of one of the world’s largest electronics firms.
The revival of the investigation follows the submission of evidence by rival chip maker AMD on the behaviour of Intel around the time of major AMD product launches last year.
The Commission followed this up with formal letters to manufacturers like Siemens Fujitsu and Germany’s Siemens AG, both customers of Intel and AMD.
While the European Commission says it is too early to file charges against Intel, it confirmed that it is undergoing something of a “fact finding phase.”
The European Commission’s recent antitrust trial against Microsoft saw the software maker fined over €500m and forced to make changes to the way it packages its Windows software with media software as well as opening up its code to other developers, a fate that Intel would be anxious to avoid. Microsoft yesterday began the first phase of its appeals process against the European Commission.
Intel, which in April saw its Japanese offices raided by antitrust officials in that country, said the company continued to cooperate fully, as it has for the past three years.
By John Kennedy