Feb. 12, 2008 – Intel and Europe’s largest consumer retailer reportedly are the focus of raids by European Commission antitrust officials, as part of an ongoing investigation into alleged anticompetitive activities.
The EC didn’t specify who the targets of the raids in Germany were, only saying that it has “reason to believe that the companies concerned may have violated EC Treaty rules on restrictive business practices and/or abuse of a dominant market position,” notes the EC in a statement. It noted that the move is only “a preliminary step in investigations into suspected infringements of EC competition law.
The Associated Press cited confirmation from an Intel spokesperson that the chipmaker’s Munich office was raided. Also raided was Europe’s largest consumer electronics retailer, Media Markt. Earlier, AFX News noted that Infineon and Qimonda denied it was them.
Intel has been under the microscope of the EU since last summer, under charges it abused its dominant x86 market position by rebates to OEMs on condition of exclusivity; paying them to cancel/delay product launches using AMD CPUs; and offering its CPUs below cost in order to lock up server market share.
The AP report noted that EU fines can go as high as 10^% of a company’s global revenue — in Intel’s case, that could amount to nearly $700M.