Intel rolls ahead after antitrust ruling

By Sumner Lemon, IDG News Service |  Legal, antitrust, Intel

Intel hasn't changed the way it does business since the European Commission ruled last month that the world's largest chip maker broke European antitrust laws and fined it €1.06 billion (US$1.44 billion), a senior company executive said.

"We have our heads held high in terms of the value we've delivered to consumers. For 30 years, we've cut the price [of microprocessors] constantly and very, very few industries in the world have been as efficient as ours," said Sean Maloney, executive vice president and chief sales and marketing officer at Intel, during an interview at the Computex exhibition in Taipei.

"Obviously, we're studying [the ruling] very, very closely and at some appropriate time we'll figure out what the implications are," he said.

The European Commission found that Intel engaged in "illegal anticompetitive practices to exclude competitors from the market for computer chips."

Among the practices cited in the statement were rebates paid by Intel on the condition that computer makers buy processors exclusively from Intel. Intel also paid computer makers to delay the release of computers that used chips from rival Advanced Micro Devices, it said.

As part of its ruling, the European Commission ordered Intel to cease the illegal business practices immediately.

However, industry executives attending Computex said they don't expect the European antitrust case or the fine to have much effect on Intel, citing the company's healthy balance sheet and the significant revenue it earns as the biggest supplier of microprocessors.

Nevertheless, Intel offered a vigorous response when the European Commission's decision was announced.

At that time, Intel CEO Paul Otellini said, "Intel takes strong exception to this decision. We believe the decision is wrong and ignores the reality of a highly competitive microprocessor marketplace -- characterized by constant innovation, improved product performance and lower prices."

"There has been absolutely zero harm to consumers. Intel will appeal," he said.

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