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Intel upbeat despite US and EU antitrust hearings

Analysis: After facing antitrust accusations in the US, Intel defended itself against claims made by the European Commission this week in Brussels.

This week marked the beginning of hearings in the antitrust case against chipmaker giant Intel.

Executives from Intel, equipped with a legal team and firm belief in the company's innocence, appeared before the European Commission to fight accusations of anti competitive business practices.

The European Commission filed charges last year against Intel after the regulator determined the company to be using anti-competitive practices directed at the second-place leader in the chip market, and Intel's biggest competitor, AMD.

The complaint cites three individual practices that Intel has allegedly used. First, the company is said to have offered substantial rebates to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) that agreed to buy all or most of their CPU requirements from Intel.

Additionally, it is claimed that Intel has been known to make payments to its OEM customers to encourage them to delay or cancel a launch of a product line that uses rival company AMD's processors.

Lastly, the commission has accused Intel of offering its CPUs on average below-cost when bidding against AMD-based products in the server segment of the market, especially to strategic customers.

"The three types of conduct reinforce each other and are part of a single overall anti-competitive strategy," the Commission said in a statement published after six years of investigation.

The EU hearings came only a month after Intel was faced with similar accusations in the US. The newest claims, which come from New York, also question the legality of Intel's actions toward competitors, IT PRO reported at the time.

"Our investigation is focused on determining whether Intel has improperly used monopoly power to exclude competitors or stifle innovation," New York attorney general Andrew Cuomo said, "We will also look at whether Intel abused its power to remove competitive threats or harm competition in violation of New York and federal antitrust laws."

Intel has received a subpoena in the New York investigation, and insists the company's practices are legal.

"We believe our business practices are lawful and that the microprocessor market is competitive and is functioning as one would expect a competitive market to function," Intel spokesman Chuck Mulloy said.

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