The European Commission on Thursday said that it sent a supplementary Statement of Objections (SSO) to Intel Corp. The new allegations reinforce the Commission’s preliminary view outlined in last year’s SSO that Intel has infringed EC Treaty rules on abuse of a dominant position with the aim of excluding its main rival, AMD, from the x86 chip market.
In the SSO the European Commission accuses Intel of three more elements of abusive conduct in order to monopolize the EU market of central processing units (CPUs):
- First, Intel has provided substantial rebates to a leading European personal computer (PC) retailer conditional on it selling only Intel-based PCs.
- Secondly, Intel made payments in order to induce a leading Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) to delay the planned launch of a product line incorporating an AMD-based CPU.
- Thirdly, in a subsequent period, Intel has provided substantial rebates to that same OEM conditional on it obtaining all of its laptop CPU requirements from Intel.
In addition, the Commission has included in the SSO additional factual elements relating to a number of the objections outlined in the SSO which was sent to Intel a little less than a year ago. Back then, the Commission accused Intel of providing substantial rebates to OEMs who obtained the great majority of x86 chips from Intel, making payments to an OEM for cancellation or delay of AMD-based products, selling server CPUs below average cost in order not to let AMD win contracts.
The commission also considers at this stage of its analysis that all six types of conduct reinforce each other and are part of a single overall anti-competitive strategy aimed at excluding AMD or limiting its access to the market.
Intel has eight weeks to reply to the SSO, and will then have the right to be heard in an Oral Hearing. If the Commission’s preliminary views expressed in the SSO are confirmed, the Commission may decide to require Intel to cease the abuse and may impose a fine.