EU Slaps Intel with $1.45 Billion Antitrust Fine

"Intel has harmed millions of European consumers by deliberately acting to keep competitors out of the market for computer chips for many years. Such a serious and sustained violation of the EU's antitrust rules cannot be tolerated."

EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said in a statement following a lengthy investigation brought about by complaints made by Intel's chipmaking rival, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD).

Intel was subsequently fined with more than a billion dollars for violating anti-trust legislation. But what did Intel do exactly to warrant

Between October 2002 and December 2007, Intel held more than 70 percent of the worldwide x86 CPU market. The Commission found that during the period in question, Intel engaged in two illegal practices. The first was that it gave wholly or partially hidden rebates to computer manufacturers on the condition that they buy all or almost all of their x86 CPUs from Intel. This illegal practice also included Intel's making direct payments to a major retailer so that it would stock only computers with Intel x86 CPUs.

Wicked, if true. Right?
In the meantime, Intel President and CEO issued a clear statement:

"Intel takes strong exception to this decision. We believe the decision is wrong and ignores the reality of a highly competitive microprocessor marketplace--characterized by constant innovation, improved product performance and lower prices. There has been absolutely zero harm to consumers. Intel will appeal."

And as expected, so did AMD:

"After an exhaustive investigation, the EU came to one conclusion--Intel broke the law and consumers were hurt," Tom McCoy, AMD's executive vice president for legal affairs, said in a statement. "With this ruling, the industry will benefit from an end to Intel's monopoly-inflated pricing and European consumers will enjoy greater choice, value and innovation."

Here's to hoping that this quagmire would end in a decision that will benefit all PC consumers.

[via CNET]

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