Intel to Fight EU Antitrust Charges

Chipmaker Intel said on Monday it had responded to antitrust charges filed by the European Commission and would seek a hearing, an Intel spokesman and a Commission spokeswoman said on Monday.

The Commission charged Intel in July 2007 with slashing prices below cost and offering huge rebates in an illegal attempt to drive smaller competitor Advanced Micro Devices out of the market.

Intel says it has followed the law. The charges and the response are confidential.

The Commission confirmed that it had received the filing and an Intel spokesman said a hearing had been requested.

Intel took advantage of its right to have its case aired before a hearing officer, in a closed-room review. The hearing officer will make no decision but will report directly to Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes.

Typically, it takes several months in such a complex case before a hearing takes place. If so, the case will be heard in March or perhaps after the Easter break in early April.

The Commission is the EU’s antitrust watchdog and has powers to fine companies up to 10 percent of their global annual revenues for competition abuses.

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