The European Commission has sent letters to PC vendors and retailers throughout Europe concerning Intel's business practices, two years after the Commission concluded that an earlier complaint from rival AMD was unfounded.
"We are indeed still investigating this complaint. Our [new] investigation remains at a preliminary stage, but the complaint never left our desk," said Amelia Torres, a spokeswoman for the Commission.
AMD filed a complaint with the Commission in 2000 concerning Intel's marketing and licensing practices in Europe. In 2002, Torres said the complaint was "not founded" and that the Commission planned to close the complaint soon, but it never did.
Since 2002, AMD has provided the Commission with information that it considered relevant to the original complaint, said Mike Simonoff, an AMD spokesman. Simonoff was unable to comment on the specific information that sparked the renewed investigation, but confirmed AMD had recently provided information about Intel to the Commission.
The Commission has yet to ask Intel any further questions about its business practices in Europe, said Chuck Mulloy, an Intel spokesman. "We believe our business practices are fair and lawful," Mulloy said. Intel will cooperate with the investigation, he said.
The renewal of the investigation is unrelated to a case before the US Supreme Court between Intel and AMD over how information in US court cases can be shared with international courts, Simonoff said. AMD hopes to use testimony provided by Intel in a patent case with Intergraph against the company in Europe. AMD expects to see a ruling in the Supreme Court case this month, Simonoff said.
Intel has been under pressure from government regulators in Europe and Japan. The European Union announced earlier this year that it was looking into whether European governments were illegally requesting only Intel PCs from suppliers, thus hurting AMD. The same month, authorities from Japan's Fair Trade Commission raided Intel's offices in Tsukuba, Japan.