Officials from the European Commission, the executive arm and antitrust watchdog of the EU, raided the European offices of Intel and a number of PC manufacturers yesterday.

Representatives of the Commission and of national competition authorities carried out onsite inspections of several Intel offices and of the offices of an undisclosed number of PC manufacturers, Commission spokesperson Linda Caine said.

"These inspections are carried out in the framework of an ongoing competition investigation," Caine said.

She was unable to name the PC manufacturers involved, or the countries where the offices are located.

It's now a little more than a year since the Commission wrote to European PC vendors asking about Intel's business practices, kicking off a round of investigations into a complaint filed in 2000 by Intel's microprocessor rival AMD.

In 2002, the Commission declared that complaint "not founded", but never officially closed the investigation.

Intel has also been investigated by the JFTC (Fair Trade Commission of Japan). In March, the JFTC asked Intel to end its practice of promising funds to PC makers if they agreed not to use its competitors' processors, and in April Intel accepted JFTC's findings.

At the end of last month, AMD also filed a complaint against Intel in a US district court, alleging various anticompetitive practices. That complaint cites examples of payments made or pressure applied by Intel to PC manufacturers, distributors and resellers in the US, Europe and Asia.