Officials from the European Commission have raided the European offices of Intel and a number of PC manufacturers.

Representatives of the Commission and of national competition authorities carried out on-site inspections of several Intel offices and of the offices of an undisclosed number of PC manufacturers, Commission spokeswoman Linda Caine said.

"These inspections are carried out in the framework of an ongoing competition investigation," Caine said.

She was unable to name the PC manufacturers involved, or the countries where the offices are located.

It's now a little more than a year since the Commission wrote to European PC vendors asking about Intel's business practices, kicking off a new round of investigations into a complaint filed in 2000 by Intel's microprocessor rival AMD. In 2002, the Commission declared that complaint "not founded," but never officially closed the investigation.

Intel has also been investigated by the Fair Trade Commission of Japan (JFTC). In March, the JFTC asked Intel to end its practice of promising funds to PC makers if they agreed not to use its competitors' processors, and in April Intel KK, the company's Japanese subsidiary, accepted JFTC's findings.

At the end of last month, AMD sued Intel in a US district court, alleging various anti-competitive practices. That complaint cites examples of payments made or pressure applied by Intel to PC manufacturers, distributors and resellers in the US, Europe and Asia.