Intel boss takes “strong exception” to EU ruling

Intel chief executive Paul Otellini has hit out at the EU’s decision to fine his company over a billion Euros for anti-competitive behaviour.

Intel boss takes

The chip maker was found guilty of offering five leading PC makers substantial rebates to drop or delay the introduction of AMD products.

The Intel chief insists his company will appeal the decision, claiming it was playing hard but fair. “Intel takes strong exception to this decision,” Otellini claims in a statement.

“We believe the decision is wrong and ignores the reality of a highly competitive microprocessor marketplace – characterised by constant innovation, improved product performance and lower prices. There has been absolutely zero harm to consumers.”

Otellini insists AMD was only a victim of market forces. “The natural result of a competitive market with only two major suppliers is that when one company wins sales, the other does not,” he said.

“The Directorate General for Competition of the Commission ignored or refused to obtain significant evidence that contradicts the assertions in this decision. We believe this evidence shows that when companies perform well the market rewards them, when they don’t perform the market acts accordingly.”

No AMD lock-out

Intel’s general counsel claims the company has never prevented PC makers from selling AMD products. “The basic allegation against Intel is that it used lower prices, in the form of rebates, to prevent customers from buying or supporting AMD, or to punish customers when they did so,” said Bruce Sewell. “Such claims are false.”

“Intel has never required a customer to agree not to buy from AMD in order to obtain a discount, nor raised a customer’s prices when it decided to buy from AMD.”

Sewell is also bemused at the size of the fine, a new EU record. “With respect to the fine imposed by the Competition Authority I will only say that the amount is arbitrary,” he said.

“It bears no relationship to any actual or proven harm or injury. But, so be it. Intel’s response will be as it has always been. We will respect the proper administration of justice within the EC. We will comply with all appropriate measures to secure an undertaking in the amount of the fine, and we will defend ourselves vigorously by appealing this matter to the Court of First Instance”.

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