European regulators charged that US chipmaker Intel used coercion and bribery to unfairly gain market advantage in Europe late on Thursday.
The European Commission said that it had sent another so-called “statement of objections” to Intel alleging it has tried to exclude its leading competitor, Advanced Micro Devices Inc (AMD), from the x86 central processing unit (CPU) market.
The action follows a similar warning sent to the company in July last year.
Without naming other companies involved, regulators said in a statement they had reached a “preliminary conclusion” that Intel has engaged in another three types of “abusive conduct.”
The commission said Intel had provided “substantial rebates to a leading European personal computer retailer” to sell only Intel-based PCs. It had paid bribes to a manufacturer to delay the launch of a product using AMD products and also paid “substantial rebates” to the same company conditional on its buying all of its CPU units from California-based Intel.
The European Commission gave Intel eight weeks to reply and attend an oral hearing, and reserved the right to levy fines. It said each charge in and of itself was serious, but taken together they “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 said it was disappointed by the new charges, adding it believed the commission supported AMD’s position. It said it has always conducted itself legally and with a sense of fair competition.
Intel said the rebates gave lower prices to consumers and it was convinced it could rebut the Commission’s charges as unfounded.
Separately, AMD replaced its chief executive Hector Ruiz on Thursday, appointing its president and chief operating officer Dirk Meyer in his place.
The move was announced as AMD, which has struggled in recent years to compete with sector leader Intel, reported a loss of US$1.2 billion on the quarter. AMD’s revenue rose to US$1.35 billion from US$1.31 billion, but it was short of the US$1.45 billion expected by Wall Street.
AMD shares were down US$0.20, or 3.8 percent, to US$5.10 in after-hours trading. AMD’s stock was above US$40 as recently as 2006 and the resulting fall has vaporized US$20 billion in shareholder wealth.
Ruiz, 62, had been chief executive since 2002 and will continue to serve as executive chairman, focusing on a previously announced plan to develop a new manufacturing strategy that is expected to reduce costs. Ruiz had been one of the few Hispanic chief executive’s of a top US company.
Under his tenure, AMD rose to present its greatest challenge to Intel when it launched the Opteron line of chips in 2003. But delays in introducing the chip’s successors and a bad US$5.6 billion purchase of graphics chip maker ATI Technologies hit the company’s cash flow and profits, forcing it to sell an 8.1 percent stake to the Abu Dhabi government’s investment arm last November.
FORCED LABOR: Customs officials have seized a 11.8 tonne shipment of products made from human hair on suspicion they were produced by people facing human rights abuses Federal authorities in New York City on Wednesday seized a shipment of weaves and other beauty accessories suspected to be made out of human hair taken from people locked inside a Chinese internment camp. US Customs and Border Protection (CPB) officials said that 11.8 tonnes of hair products worth an estimated US$800,000 were in the shipment. “The production of these goods constitutes a very serious human rights violation, and the detention order is intended to send a clear and direct message to all entities seeking to do business with the United States that illicit and inhumane practices will not be tolerated in
JUST QUESTIONS: Expelled reporter Ai Kezhu said that every member of Southeast Television had complied with the law and had not appeared on any talk shows Two Chinese reporters yesterday left Taiwan after the government revoked their accreditation and ordered them to leave amid a probe into allegations that several Chinese media outlets have set up studios and produced political talk shows in Taiwan. The two reporters — Ai Kezhu (艾珂竹) and Lu Qiang (盧薔) — worked for Fujian Province-based Southeast Television and arrived in Taiwan in December last year. The Mainland Affairs Council has launched an investigation after local media reported that Chinese broadcasters — including China Central Television, Southeast Television and FJTV — had set up studios in Taipei and produced political talk shows. Council Deputy Minister
UPTICK IN NUMBERS: The Taipei deputy mayor said the city has services to assist new immigrants, but has established an office specifically to help those from Hong Kong The Taiwan-Hong Kong Services and Exchanges Office today officially opens, where it is to provide humanitarian assistance to Hong Kongers, after Beijing yesterday passed a controversial national security law for the territory. President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) expressed dismay over China’s passage of the law, saying that Beijing has broken its pledge to allow Hong Kong to maintain a high degree of autonomy for at least 50 years following its handover from the UK. “I feel extremely disappointed [about the law’s passage], which means China did not keep its promise to Hong Kong,” Tsai said in Taipei. Beijing’s “broken promise” also
‘BASELESS ACCUSATIONS’: Ker Chien-ming said it was not possible to drop Chen Chu’s nomination, while KMT lawmakers accused their DPP rivals of ‘homicidal behavior’ The Legislative Yuan is to vote on President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) nominations for the Control Yuan on July 17 after Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators regained access to the legislative chamber yesterday after it was occupied by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers for about 19 hours. The Legislative Yuan had been scheduled to meet yesterday morning to discuss its planned extraordinary session, but more than 20 KMT lawmakers on Sunday afternoon broke into the main chamber and occupied the legislative speaker’s podium to protest Tsai’s nomination of former Presidential Office secretary-general Chen Chu (陳菊) to be Control Yuan president. The KMT caucus