July 27, 2007 / 10:46 AM / 12 years ago

Intel says EU made errors in antitrust charges

(Adds further comment, including on Microsoft case)

BRUSSELS, July 27 (Reuters) - The European Union’s top antitrust regulator made errors of fact in its charge sheet against Intel (INTC.O), the chipmaker’s general counsel said on Friday. The European Commission has alleged Intel tried to use its huge market share to push smaller rival Advanced Micro Devices AMD.N out of the central processing unit (CPU) business.

It sent the company a statement of objections, or SO, in a move that could lead to fines of as much as 10 percent of Intel’s annual turnover.

“I can tell you that having read the SO there are factual assumptions which have been made which we think the Commission has simply gotten wrong — not intentionally,” general counsel Bruce Sewell told Reuters from California.

Sewell said there were assumptions about pricing and manufacturing costs “which the Commission has simply misunderstood”.

The Commission had in some areas indicated it lacked an adequate record to go on and therefore made assumptions, he said.

Sewell said Intel expected to work with the Commission to help it understand Intel’s views.

The charges come less than two months before an EU court rules on Sept. 17 on software company Microsoft’s (MSFT.O) challenge of a landmark 2004 decision by the Commission finding it violated antitrust laws.

Many antitrust lawyers have said that decision will determine the scope of the EU executive’s authority over so-called “abuses of dominance.”

“It will absolutely be a very, very important decision,” Sewell said. “We are eagerly anticipating Sept. 17 to see where the court is going and how the court will be able to instruct the Commission.”

((Reporting by David Lawsky, editing by Dale Hudson; Reuters messaging david.lawsky.reuters.com@reuters.net; e-mail david.lawsky@reuters.com; +322-287-6811. Brussels newsroom)) Keywords: INTEL/COUNSEL Keywords: INTEL/COUNSEL

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