Intel Handed Record £948m Fine By EU

Might hurt those otherwise recession defying financial results.

Despite dogged resistance, Intel has followed in Microsoft’s footsteps in becoming another huge technology business to fall foul of the EU’s antitrust laws. This time the result is a record-breaking fine of 1.06bn euros ($1.45bn; £948m) – more than double the 497m euro fine Microsoft received.

The specifics of the case refer to the period between 2002 and 2007 when Intel had paid manufacturers and a retailer to keep using its products rather than switch to the likes of AMD. Other practices included encouraging manufacturers to delay or cancel AMD based products. The companies in question include Acer, Dell, HP, Lenovo and NEC, who received money in the form of hidden rebates, and Europe’s biggest consumer electronics retailer, Media Markt.

According to the current verdict, Intel must cease these practices immediately (something one assumes they’ve long since done) and pay the fine within the next three months.

European Union Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes, had this to say about the decision; “Intel has harmed millions of European consumers by deliberately acting to keep competitors out of the market for computer chips for many years.” These are very strong words but ones that seem fair given that at the time AMD’s processors were generally considered better than those of Intel yet AMD struggled to make financial and market share gains during this period.

Of course, this is something Intel strongly disagrees and in response, Intel President and CEO, Paul Otellini, said, “We believe the decision is wrong and ignores the reality of a highly competitive microprocessor market.” He also insisted, “that there has been absolutely zero harm to consumers.”

Whatever the truth, Intel will appeal the verdict, which will no doubt drag the case out for months or even years longer.

via BBC News

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