If there was any doubt that the European Commission would roll over and play dead when big tech companies come to play in Europe, it must be dispelled today as its offices raided the premises of Intel and some top European electronics retailers yesterday. The EC’s antitrust probe has extended to Media Markt, Europe’s biggest electronic chain, and DSG International, which runs PC World in the UK. The FT reports:
“The Commission has reason to believe that the companies may have violated European Commission Treaty rules on restrictive business practices and/or abuse of a dominant market position,” the regulator said, stressing that the raids did not prejudge the outcome of the investigation. Intel, Media Markt and DSG confirmed the visits and said they were co-operating with the inquiry.
Last July, the Commission accused Intel of offering rebates to manufacturers, but these latest raids are about Intel’s relationships with retailers. The Commission is still looking into a seven year old complaint by chip maker AMD that Intel was trying to push it out of the CPU market. Damn, those EC guys are persistent.