Over the last few weeks, the European Union’s antitrust beef with Intel’s behavior has come to a head. Today we learn that Intel could face similar trouble at home.
Earlier in the week, White House antitrust official Christine Varney said that the Bush administration “favored extreme caution” in enforcing antitrust policy. Varney went on to say that the Justice Department “will be aggressively pursuing cases where monopolists try to use their dominance in the marketplace to stifle competition and harm consumers.”
Channel Web today reports that this, coupled with Intel’s impending EU fine could mean that the company will have similar problems in the United States. "I think it's tremendously important. I think the EU will provide a road map for enforcement in the U.S.," Channel web cites David Balto, a Washington, D.C.-based antitrust attorney and former policy director in the Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Competition as saying. According to CW, Balto said the Obama administration's Monday pledge to crack down on antitrust behavior also could give Intel pause.
The European Commission, believes Intel’s pricing practices were an attempt to drive AMD out of the market, and will this week determine the fine to be paid by Intel. Intel denies charges related to rebates offered as long as manufacturers agreed to obtain the majority of their processors from Intel as well as paying them to either to delay or cancel the launch of AMD based products. The company maintains that its actions were within legal boundaries.
Tomorrow is fingered as the day when the EU will decide how much Intel should be fined and speculation suggests it will be a record amount. Stay tuned, folks.