Intel Hit With Huge Fine

US chip maker gets hauled over the coals for anti-competitive practices

Intel, one of the biggest chip makers in the world, has been fined over 1.6 billion Euros for “bullying” its customers into buying its chips.

In a decision that is sure to be appealed, EC Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes was blunt in her assessment of the company’s performance in Europe. “Intel has harmed millions of European consumers by deliberately acting to keep competitors out of the market for computer chips for many years,” she said.

The Commission said Intel paid illegal rebates so computer makers would mostly use Intel chips at the expense of its main competitor Advanced Micro Devices (AMD). It also said Intel paid computer makers to either stop, or take a raincheck, on plans to make units that had AMD chips.

This is not the only time that AMD has been successful in taking Intel to court. The rival manufacturer was also successful in getting Japan and Korean competition commissions to find against Intel; findings, that in the Japanese case, are under appeal.

“We believe the decision is wrong and ignores the reality of a highly competitive microprocessor marketplace – characterised by constant innovation, improved product performance and lower prices,” said Paul Otellini, CEO of Intel. “There has been absolutely zero harm to consumers.”

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