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Otellini defends Intel against EC ruling

Posted: 22 May 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Intel EC ruling? anti-trust? microprocessor?

Intel Corp. CEO Paul Otellini strongly rebutted the European Commission's findings that the chip giant breached anti-trust rules in its selling of microprocessors and said the company will immediately appeal the decision.

"Intel takes strong exception to this decision. We believe the decision is wrong and ignores the reality of a highly competitive microprocessor marketplacecharacterized by constant innovation, improved product performance and lower prices. There has been absolutely zero harm to consumers," said Otellini in a statement.

Meanwhile Intel senior VP and general counsel Bruce Sewell said the company was "dismayed that in a time of such acute economic turmoil the Competition Authorities have seen fit to intervene in what is by all objective measures an innovative, dynamic and competitive market.

"The basic allegation against Intel is that it used lower prices, in the form of rebates, to prevent customers from buying or supporting AMD, or to punish customers when they did so. Such claims are false. Intel has never required a customer to agree not to buy from AMD in order to obtain a discount, nor raised a customer's prices when it decided to buy from AMD," Sewell stressed.

Otellini said: "We do not believe our practices violated European law. The natural result of a competitive market with only two major suppliers is that when one company wins sales, the other does not. The Directorate General for Competition of the Commission ignored or refused to obtain significant evidence that contradicts the assertions in this decision. We believe this evidence shows that when companies perform well the market rewards them, when they don't perform the market acts accordingly."

The Intel CEO stressed the company never sells products below cost. "We have however, consistently invested in innovation, in manufacturing and in developing leadership technology. The result is that we can discount our products to compete in a highly competitive marketplace, passing along to consumers everywhere the efficiencies of being the world's leading volume manufacturer of microprocessors."

He added that "there should be no doubt whatsoever that Intel will continue to invest in the products and technologies that provide Europe and the rest of the world the industry's best performing processors at lower prices."

As regards the amount of the fine, Sewell complained that this was arbitrary, and "bears no relationship to any actual or proven harm or injury. But, so be it. Intel's response will be as it has always been. We will respect the proper administration of justice within the EC. We will comply with all appropriate measures to secure an undertaking in the amount of the fine, and we will defend ourselves vigorously by appealing this matter to the Court of First Instance."

- John Walko
EE Times Europe

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