Intel accused of bribing computer makers

5 November 2009

5 November 2009 | Jake Kanter

The New York attorney general is suing technology firm Intel over accusations of bribery and coercion.

Andrew Cuomo filed a lawsuit yesterday, claiming the microchip supplier was involved in a "systematic campaign of illegal conduct" in order to maintain its "stranglehold" on the technology market.

Intel rejected the accusations and said it would fight the lawsuit.

In an 87-page complaint, Cuomo said Intel had secured exclusive deals with computer makers in exchange for payments, or "rebates", totalling billions of dollars. It is thought Dell alone was paid almost $2 billion (£1.2 billion) in 2006.

Cuomo also accused Intel of punishing customers if they were found to be working too closely with its rival suppliers. Alleged tactics include cutting off illegal payments or directly funding the computer makers' competitors.

"Intel's actions not only unfairly restricted potential competitors, but also hurt average consumers who were robbed of better products and lower prices. These illegal tactics must stop and competition must be restored to this vital marketplace," Cuomo said.

He launched his investigation in January last year and the accusations are based on a series of emails from Intel and its customers, as well as other documents and witness accounts.

An Intel spokeswoman said: "We disagree with the New York attorney general. Neither consumers, who have consistently benefited from lower prices and increased innovation, nor justice are being served by the decision to file a case now. Intel will defend itself."

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