The European complaint said that Intel had abused its market dominance “with the aim of excluding its main rival from the market.” The complaint was the culmination of a six-year investigation.
Intel’s pricing practices are also being reviewed by investigators working for the New York attorney general Andrew Cuomo.
And A.M.D. has sued Intel in Federal District Court in Delaware. As a result of the crushing amount of evidence being gathered by both sides, a special master in that case this week delayed the start of the trial to early 2010. The trial had originally been scheduled for next spring.
Intel, which was founded by engineers who both developed the chip and made repeated innovations that made it smaller and more powerful, controls 80 to 90 percent of the microprocessor market. American antitrust law permits a company to hold a monopoly, but it forbids a company from leveraging its dominance to restrict competition.
A.M.D. has asserted that Intel offers rebates and discounts that, in effect, result in its chips being sold at below the cost of production, a practice that some courts in cases involving other companies have said can be a violation of antitrust law.
Intel denies that its discounts and rebates drive its prices below cost, or at predatory levels. Intel has said that it offered legitimate discounts based on the volume of chips that have been purchased by companies, and that consumers benefit when personal computer manufacturers — using the discounts — are able to lower the cost of making their products.
Intel executives have also said that, to the extent the foreign antitrust regulators have come down harder on the company than American officials, it is a reflection of the different approach towards antitrust law. The American approach towards antitrust has been historically aimed at protecting competition, while the others use antitrust often to protect rival companies.