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Infineon sells wireless unit to Intel for $1.4 bln

German chip maker Infineon said Monday it had sold its wireless division to US technology giant Intel in a deal valued at approximately $1.4 billion (€1.1 million).

Infineon sells wireless unit to Intel for $1.4 bln
Photo: DPA

The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2011, the two firms said in a statement, adding that the division would continue to operate as a stand-alone business under the Intel banner.

“The global demand for wireless solutions continues to grow at an extraordinary rate,” said Intel boss Paul Otellini.

The transaction would allow Intel to boost its wireless offering, the executive added.

“As more devices compute and connect to the internet, we are committed to making certain that Intel is well positioned to take advantage of the growth potential in every computing segment, from laptops to handhelds,” he said.

Infineon, which was slammed by the global downturn but has since rebounded strongly, said it was selling the group to concentrate on its core business.

“We all stand to benefit enormously from this deal,” said Infineon chief executive Peter Bauer.

The move comes just over a week after Intel reached deep into its pockets to acquire Internet security firm McAfee for $7.68 billion.

Infineon shares rose slightly on the news as the DAX index of leading German shares opened in Frankfurt.

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AMAZON

Germany opens ‘anti-competition’ probe into Amazon with tougher law

Germany's competition authority said Tuesday it had opened an inquiry into online retail giant Amazon over potential "anti-competitive practices", using a new law giving regulators more power to rein in big tech companies.

Germany opens 'anti-competition' probe into Amazon with tougher law
An Amazon warehouse in Brandenburg. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Patrick Pleul

Federal Cartel Office head Andreas Mundt said his office is examining whether Amazon has “an almost unchallengeable position of economic power” and whether it “operates across various markets”.

If so, it would be deemed of “paramount significance”, said Mundt, adding that the regulator could “take early action against and prohibit possible anti-competitive practices by Amazon”.

“This could apply to Amazon with its online marketplaces and many other, above all digital offers,” he added.

Under the amendment to Germany’s competition law passed in January, the watchdog said it now has more power to “intervene earlier and more effectively” against big tech companies, rather than simply punishing them for abuses of their dominant market position.

READ ALSO: ‘I want to know origin of my grapes’: Amazon loses fruit and veg ruling in German court

The German reform coincided with new EU draft legislation unveiled in December aimed at curbing the power of the internet behemoths that could shake up the way Silicon Valley can operate in the 27-nation bloc.

The push to tighten legislation comes as big tech companies are facing increasing scrutiny around the globe, including in the United States, where Google and Facebook are facing antitrust suits.

The Amazon probe is only the second time that Germany’s Federal Cartel Office has made use of its new powers, after first employing them to widen the scope of an investigation into Facebook over its integration of virtual reality headsets.

The watchdog already has two traditional abuse control proceedings open against Amazon.

One involves the company’s use of algorithms to influence the pricing of third-party sellers on Amazon Marketplace, while another is probing the extent to which Amazon and major producers such as Apple exclude third parties from
selling brand products.

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