Intel headquarters
Intel headquarters - 
Listen To The Story


BOB MOON: Speaking of Intel, is the computer-chip giant illegally thwarting competition? European antitrust regulators reportedly are being urged by their investigators to formally make that charge. It's all based on a complaint by Intel's biggest rival, Advanced Micro Devices. Marketplace's Steve Tripoli has the story.

STEVE TRIPOLI: Intel allegedly withholds rebates from any of its customers who buy more than a certain number of AMD chips. So a computer maker's bill from Intel may not shrink much even on a smaller order.

Doug Freedman of American Technology Research says that if the allegation's true it can wipe out any incentive to buy from a competitor.

DOUG FREEDMAN: It's unfair in that the market gets starved. And that's why it's an anti-competitive practice.

Freedman says Intel's 80 percent world market share for chips is so big that customers think twice about complaining.

FREEDMAN: The market is still afraid of Intel. If you fall out of their graces, in a technology business where the margins are the fattest on new products, any sort of lack of allocation can ruin you.

Similar allegations against Intel have popped up around the world. But so far there've been no big penalties.

I'm Steve Tripoli for Marketplace.