13 May 2009

EU Commission imposes biggest ever Anti-Trust Fine on the Computer Chip Maker INTEL

Today the EU Commission in Brussels has imposed a fine of € 1.06 billion on the computer chip manufacturer Intel "for abuse of a dominant position" and ordered it to cease illegal practices.
This sum is by far the biggest anti-trust fine ever imposed on a single company (and makes the € 500 million fine Microsoft received a couple of years ago for similar misbehaviour look rather small).

Intel has already an 80% share of the global processor market, but was trying to increase its share even further, using illegal methods.

The EU Commission says that Intel "broke competition law by offering rebates to computer manufacturers that encouraged them to use its products and not those of rival manufacturer AMD".

Eight years ago AMD complained to the EU about Intel's rebate schemes, and the Commission has been investigating the matter ever since.
Two years ago it started investigating a claim by AMD that Intel was paying large retail chains - like Germany's Media Markt - not to stock devices containing AMD chips.

Intel has said it rejects the allegations and will appeal the ruling. However, the fine must be paid up-front. It will be kept in a special bank account, and should the company's appeal be successful then either the whole sum, or a part of it (depending on the Court's orders) would be returned.

In relation to Ireland, a spokeswoman for Intel said that the company was in the early stages of considering the EU's ruling and would evaluate its impact. She added that "the Irish business continues to be an asset for the company".

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