Intel, Dell European Offices Raided

The European offices of Intel and several PC companies that deal with the American chipmaker were raided at dawn Tuesday as part of an investigation into the company's antitrust practices.

In recent months, Intel has gotten into hot water with Europe and Japan for alleged anti-competitive practices, as well as being sued by rival AMD in both Japan and the United States.

According to press reports, several European offices were raided, but it was unclear if anything was taken from the scene. A spokesperson for the European Commission said, "these inspections are carried out in the framework of an ongoing competition investigation."

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While the Commission would not give specifics as to what companies were raided aside from Intel, news reports indicated that authorities had visited Dell Computer's European offices. Other computer makers and companies associated with Intel either declined to comment or did not respond to press inquiries.

Last April, the European Commission announced that it was opening up an investigation into procurement procedures by several member states of the European Union. Some call for Intel-based machines specifically to be bought by government agencies in those states. Such policies are illegal under EU statutes.

The Commission was also looking into reports that Intel threatened retaliation against smaller companies that opted to use AMD chips.

AMD had already filed suit against Intel in late June in the United States, then several days later in Japan. The company has also pressured the European Union to look into Intel's practices in Europe as well, first filing a complaint in 2000, and then renewing it in 2004.

Intel was previously subject to a raid by Japanese authorities as part of their investigation into anti-competitive practices.

As of press time, Intel had not responded to requests from BetaNews to comment on the situation. However, AMD executive vice president Thomas McCoy applauded the Commission's actions.

"Today's dawn raids should come as good news to consumers across Europe," McCoy said. "The European Commission dawn raids show that Intel cannot and should not escape the scrutiny of antitrust officials around the world – nor can Intel escape the consequences of its anti-competitive actions, which raise prices, threaten innovation and harm consumers."

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