The European Commission has expanded an ongoing antitrust probe of computer chip maker Intel to examine claims that the company has been pressuring the Continent's largest computer retail chain not to sell computers containing chips made by archrival AMD, EC spokesman Jonathan Todd confirmed today.

"The Commission is concerned that Intel has been putting pressure on Media Markt not to stock computers that include AMD chips as opposed to Intel chips," Todd said.

Media Markt is a German chain of over 360 stores spread across 11 countries in the EU. In July AMD complained to Germany’s antitrust office, the Bundeskartellampt, that it didn’t have access to this vital sales outlet.

The EC decided to examine the claim because of the cross-border nature of the alleged antitrust abuse involving Media Markt and because, if true, Intel's links with the retailer would strengthen its ongoing antitrust case, which began in 2001.