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Is EC Finalizing Intel Suit?

Are European regulators in the final stages of filing antitrust charges against Intel? We may know soon, according to an EU official who didn't want to be named.

"It is likely that the commission will make an official statement on the case in the coming days," the official told internetnews.com.

The official said a final review of the case against Intel is ongoing and will be presented to EU Commissioner Nellie Kroes for the final decision whether to charge Intel with antitrust behavior.

The source wouldn't comment on reports Kroes will decide by the end of 2006.

EC spokesman Jonathan Todd would only say its investigation of Intel was continuing.

While Todd refused to confirm whether or not a statement regarding the case will soon be issued, he said the commission will release more details once a decision is reached.

The five-year investigation heated up when EC investigators raided the European offices of Intel in July.

The probe widened last month when the EC said it would include allegations the chipmaker colluded with a European retail giant to exclude AMD-powered computers.

"Intel abuses its super dominant monopoly in order to perpetuate its iron grip on the industry," Thomas McCoy, AMD's executive vice president of legal affairs and chief administrative officer, said in a statement at the time.

"There is dialog between the EC and Intel," Chuck Mulloy, an Intel spokesman told internetnews.com.

While those conversations are private, Mulloy said Intel's understanding of the status of the EC investigation doesn't match media reports.

"We've been cooperating with them [the EC] for five years," Mulloy said. "Our business practices are fair and lawful."

Not waiting for the EC to take action, rival AMD has filed suit in the U.S. and elsewhere claiming that Intel is guilty of antitrust activities.

AMD was not immediately available for comment on the latest Intel reports.

AMD last week suffered a legal setback in its charges Intel coerced computer makers to not do business with the No. 2 chipmaker.

Delaware District Court Judge Joseph Farnun ruled a large portion of a lawsuit filed in June fell out of his district, since AMD's claims addressed practices allegedly committed outside the U.S.

The Intel competitor had charged Intel paid Toshiba and Sony to not work with AMD, as well as forcing NEC, Acer and Fujitsu into exclusive agreements that provided rebates to computer companies that either limited or stopped AMD purchases.

AMD has also taken Intel's Japanese subsidiary to Tokyo High Court, seeking $50 million for violating that country's Antimonopoly Act, as internetnews.com reported in June.