(AFP) – May 28, 2008
BRUSSELS (AFP) — The European Commission said on Wednesday it will rule in its antitrust case against Intel "as soon as possible," but firmly dismissed a press report that it would decide against the company in the coming months.
"There is no provisional or internal decision on this case, the investigation is very much active and ongoing," commission spokesman for antitrust issues Jonathan Todd told journalists in Brussels.
"It's been going on for several years. We will pursue this case as diligently as we can and we will take a decision as soon as possible," he said.
The Financial Times Deutschland reported Wednesday that Europe's top competition watchdog had gathered enough evidence to rule in the long running case against Intel in the coming months.
In Brussels, Kroes spokesman Jonathan Todd dismissed the report as "misleading" that a decision had been taken and described the report as a result of "irresponsible journalism."
After a six-year investigation, the commission accused Intel last July of offering "substantial" rebates to computer makers that mostly used its chips.
Europe's top competition watchdog also alleged that Intel had made payments to clients to delay or cancel products using chips made by its US rival Advanced Micro Device, and selling its own chips at below cost in some cases.
AMD, the second biggest computer chip maker, has long accused Intel of using its grip on the market for microchips -- the brains of personal computers -- to choke off competition.
Intel's central processing units make up the computing power behind 80 percent of the world's personal computers while AMD controls about 17 percent.
If the commission rules against Intel, the company could face a fine of up to 10 percent of annual sales, which the newspaper report said would be around 2.6 billion euros (4.1 billion dollars)
If such a fine was levied, it would be one of the biggest ever by the EU Commission, which fined US software giant Microsoft a record 899 million euros for failing to respect another antitrust ruling.
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