Intel has been accused of abusing its dominant position in the microprocessor market to exclude its rival AMD, in breach of European antitrust rules.
The Commission sent Intel a Statement of Objections yesterday, giving it 10 weeks to reply. A Statement of Objections is a formal accusation of antitrust violations.
Intel abused its position in three ways, according to the Commission: by offering rebates to PC manufacturers that buy the majority of their processors from Intel; by making payments to some manufacturers to encourage them to delay or cancel products using AMD processors, and by selling processors below cost when bidding against AMD for contracts with server manufacturers.
After Intel replies to the charges, it can request an oral hearing. If the Commission remains convinced that Intel has abused its market position, it can fine the company and order it to stop the anticompetitive practices, the Commission said in a statement today.
Representatives of the Commission, Intel and AMD could not immediately be reached for comment. AMD has already filed antitrust complaints against Intel in various parts of the world.