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European Commission wants more time to ponder Intel extension

Commission is expected to make a decision by next week regarding Intel's request for an extension to respond to antitrust allegations.

It's the proverbial win-win situation.

Earlier this week, Intel said it wanted more time to respond to the European Commission's allegations that it abused its market dominant position and sent an extension request to the Commission's antitrust regulators. It turns out, the Commission needs more time too.

A hearing officer for the Commission was due to make a decision on Intel's extension request Thursday, but instead found he too needs more time and will now make a decision by October 19, said Jonathan Todd, a Commission spokesman.

As a result, Intel has been granted a provisional extension giving it, in essence, an extension to its possible extension. At this point, should we be asking "who's on first?"

It's understandable why Intel would want more time to respond. In the Commission's "statement of objections," it outlines three allegations against the chip giant:

• Intel provided substantial rebates to various original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) conditional on them obtaining all or the great majority of their CPU requirements from Intel.

• Intel made payments to induce an OEM to either delay or cancel the launch of a product line incorporating an AMD-based CPU.

• Intel offered CPUs on average below cost, when bidding against AMD-based products for strategic customers in the server segment of the market.

Intel, meanwhile, says its business practices are misunderstood and, with its provisional extension, will have more time to gather up and draft its response.