Intel Gets Bitch Slapped By The EU To The Tune Of $1.44 Billion

The European Union has decided that chipmaker Intel has been abusing it’s position as king of the hill to keep rival chipmaker AMD down. As a result, the EU has fined Intel $1.44 billion USD. To nobody’s surprise, Intel doesn’t agree with the decision:

Intel president and CEO Paul Otellini said the company would appeal to the EU courts because “the decision is wrong” and “there has been absolutely zero harm to consumers.” The company promised to comply with the EU order but criticized it as extremely ambiguous.

However, AMD is doing cartwheels:

AMD’s Europe president Giuliano Meroni said the EU order “will shift the power from an abusive monopolist to computer makers, retailers and above all PC consumers.”

So what did Intel do to tick off the EU? According to them, they did a bunch of things:

The EU says Intel gave rebates to computer manufacturers Acer, Dell, HP, Lenovo and NEC for buying all or almost all their x86 computer processing units, or CPUs, from Intel and paid them to stop or delay the launch of computers based on AMD chips.

Regulators said the company also paid Germany’s biggest electronics retailer, Media Saturn Holding — which owns the MediaMarkt superstores — from 2002 to 2007 to only stock Intel-based computers.

This meant workers at AMD’s biggest European plant in Dresden, Germany, could not buy AMD-based personal computers at their city’s main PC store.

“Intel has harmed millions of European consumers by deliberately acting to keep competitors out of the market for computer chips for many years,” said EU competition commissioner Neelie Kroes. “Such a serious and sustained violation of the EU’s antitrust rules cannot be tolerated.”

This will be tied up in court for years before it gets resolved, and they’ll likey be in line behind Microsoft.

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