EU Missed Evidence in Intel Antitrust Investigation?

Lora Bentley

An interesting development has arisen in the Intel antitrust case in Europe. (The one with the record fine, remember?) Intel, of course, appealed the ruling. Monday, Reuters -- and several other news outlets -- reported that European Union ombudsman P. Nikiforos Diamandouros has found that the European Commission failed to consider potentially exculpatory evidence when it made that decision against Intel.

 

Diamandouros "is expected to deliver a report" to that effect, which will accuse the EC of "maladministration," according to Reuters. He cannot, however, reverse the fine levied against the chipmaker. SiliconValley.com writer Steve Johnson clarifies that Diamandouros, as an independent commentator, has no direct authority over the EC, but that it will be interesting to see if his report is considered when Europe's Court of First Instance makes a decision on Intel's appeal.

 

The evidence in question? A meeting between EU investigators and a Dell executive, where the Dell executive indicated that the PC maker found the performance of AMD products "very poor." If true, this would help to show that Dell chose Intel products of its own accord rather than being "strong-armed" to choose Intel's over AMD's. Even if it is true, however, some observers say it would probably not have been enough to change the EC's decision on the matter.

 

So why is it even news? Johnson notes that until now, the proceedings and reports in the case against Intel have been kept secret.



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