Report: EU set to levy big fine on Intel

A number of reports say the European Commission will levy a large fine on Intel this week for violating antitrust rules.

The decision to fine the world's largest chipmaker will be handed down on Wednesday, according to Reuters. This action has been expected.

The Commission, part of the European Union, will also order Intel to change the way it provides rebates to computer makers, according to Reuters. On Friday, Commission officials discussed the Intel fine with "national competition authorities," Reuters said.

Intel's only real competition in the worldwide PC processor market is Advanced Micro Devices, which … Read more

Facing criticism, Google tries buffing its image

Google, having dealt with two major antitrust issues in 2008 and facing the potential of more to come, has begun a program to try to spruce up its image and show that competition is alive and well.

Consumer Watchdog on Friday plans to tout a Google presentation titled "Google, Competition, and Openness" (PDF) that the advocacy group uncovered. The company presentation (also embedded below) gives Google's views that it faces plenty of competition in a dynamic market.

Given the increasing profile of the search giant, especially in light of its ability to weather the economic storm better … Read more

Redmond roundup: Company files EU response

Microsoft met a deadline this week to respond to European Commission charges that its inclusion of a browser in Windows violates antitrust laws there.

In January, the European authorities filed a new complaint with a preliminary finding that Microsoft had broken the law by bundling a browser into Windows.

Microsoft's response was not made public and the company did not offer a comment, but it's fair to say the company disagrees with the finding.

The stakes are high. In addition to potential fines, Microsoft has noted in regulatory filings that European authorities may seek to force Microsoft to include rival browsersRead more

Reports: Google, DOJ talked about Book Search

The Justice Department is examining antitrust issues regarding a proposed settlement of Google Book Search lawsuits with the search giant, according to reports in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times on Tuesday, citing unnamed sources.

It's unclear what might come of the reported talks, but the Justice Department is not to be treated lightly. The department leads enforcement of antitrust law, and Google backed down from its threatened antitrust lawsuit against it in 2008 regarding a search-ad partnership with Yahoo.

The proposed settlement with the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers, announced in October, would … Read more

Report: EU readies sanctions against Intel

The European Commission is moving toward punitive action against Intel for violating antitrust law, according to reports.

The European Commission has sent to EU member states a draft decision that rules against the world's largest chipmaker, according to reports from Reuters and Bloomberg.

The Commission may deliver a formal decision within weeks, based on past practice, according to Reuters.

In the draft decision, the Commission states that Intel abused its market power in violation of EU antitrust law.

Intel's only real competition in the worldwide PC processor market is Advanced Micro Devices, which sued Intel in 2005 on … Read more

Justice Dept., Microsoft agree to extension of oversight

Microsoft reportedly is juggling two extensions involving its antitrust woes with regulators in the U.S. and Europe.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced Thursday that Microsoft has agreed to remain under its watch for up to another 18 months, designed to allow antitrust regulators to continue monitoring the company's efforts to share interoperability information with its rivals, who develop products that use the software giant's Windows operating system.

The Justice Department is exercising its right to extend its monitoring ability through May 12, 2011, rather than letting it expire on November 12 of this year.

According … Read more

Microsoft fined over Office pricing in Germany

Regulators in Germany slapped Microsoft's local subsidiary with a fine of 9 million euros ($11.8 million) for improperly influencing pricing of Office during a retail promotion.

"Microsoft has influenced the resale price of the software package--Office Home & Student 2007--in an anticompetitive manner," Germany's Bundeskartellamt said in an English-language version of its press release.

The agency said that Microsoft unduly influenced pricing of Office Home and Student 2007 at a particular retailer as part of a fall 2008 promotion with office supply stores, which included financial support from Microsoft.

"Even before the launch of … Read more

Russia may increase oversight of Microsoft

The Russian government is exploring whether Microsoft deserves closer scrutiny under its antitrust laws, specifically whether the software maker should be added to a government-maintained list of companies with high market share.

Being added to the list itself doesn't mean the company is under investigation, but rather that it must comply with laws governing firms that have a significant market share. Unlike in some regions, Russia starts keeping an eye on companies with even a relatively low share. Anything upwards of about 35 percent share could land a company on the list.

"Russian authorities have opened an inquiry … Read more

AMD lawyer: Intel would 'like us dead'

In the wake of the latest kerfuffle between Advanced Micro Devices and Intel, AMD's chief counsel seized the moment to sound off on a primal fear at his company: Intel is bent on its destruction. Intel, of course, doesn't quite see it that way.

After Intel accused AMD on Monday of breaching a 2001 patent cross-license agreement with Intel, AMD's top lawyer had some choice words for its bigger rival.

In a phone interview Tuesday, AMD general counsel Harry Wolin refuted Intel's claim that the AMD manufacturing spin-off Globalfoundries is not a subsidiary--and thus cannot legally … Read more

Big, bad Intel up to no good again?

Intel is accused of monopolistic business practices pretty much all of the time. So much so that the big bully boilerplate isn't worth repeating.

The latest reports of charges against Intel are interesting because of the timing. According to this March 10 headline, the Korean Fair Trade Commission has ruled against Intel. That would be news if it hadn't been news eight months ago. Here's an English-language summation of the case that was news in June 2008. (CNET News report here.)

Not that all complaints about Intel business practices are unfounded. Certainly not. But how many times … Read more