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European regulators have dropped a yearlong investigation into charges that Intel Corp. abused its position as the world’s leading computer chip maker to keep rivals from winning market share, officials said Monday. One of two complaints filed by Intel rivals with the European Commission, which enforces EU antitrust law, has recently been withdrawn, commission spokeswoman Amelia Torres said. After investigating the other complaint, the commission has “come to the preliminary conclusion that the accusations made against Intel are unfounded,” she said. “Our intention is to close the file soon.” In New York, a spokesman for EU’s competition commissioner, Mario Monti, who was speaking at the World Economic Forum, said the investigation was considered dropped. “We believe the complaints were not founded, and the decision has been made to drop the investigation,” the spokesman said. Intel spokesman Chuck Mulloy in Santa Clara, Calif., said the company was gratified that the “staff of the European Commission has determined our business practices are lawful and complaints by our competitors are unfounded. We believe our business practices are both fair and lawful, and we’re pleased the EC appears to have agreed with us.” The EU investigation followed a similar probe by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, which ended in September 2000 with no legal action taken. Intel, which has more than 80 percent of the PC microprocessor market, has also successfully defended itself against civil lawsuits brought by rivals. The EU has declined to identify the complainants, who alleged Intel was abusing its dominant position in the market for chipsets and microprocessors to try to run smaller companies out of business. Intel has denied its marketing practices, including loyalty rebates offered to Intel customers and exclusive purchasing obligations, were unfair or illegal. Copyright 2002 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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