The European Commission has imposed a record fine of 1.6 billion euros on US computer chip giant Intel, after finding the group guilty of anti-competitive activities. EU regulators had been investigating Intel since 2000.
AFP - EU antitrust regulators said on Wednesday they had fined Intel a record 1.06 billion euros (1.45 billion dollars) for using its grip on the microchip market to thwart rivals illegally.
The European Commission accused Intel of using rebates to squeeze rivals out of the market for computer processing units -- the brains inside personal computers.
Intel dominates the 22-billion-euro (30-billion-dollar) market for so-called x86 CPUs with a 70-percent share during the five years it was accused of breaking EU antitrust rules.
It said that Intel had used wholly or partially hidden rebates to get PC makers to buy all or almost all their CPU supply from the Santa Clara, California-based company.
EU antitrust regulators also accused Intel of paying computer manufacturers to halt or put off the launch of products containing microchips competiting with Intel's x86.
Intel also allegedly paid a major electronic retailer to stock computers with its chips.
The commission ordered Intel to cease any of the ongoing practices that it deemed to break EU rules.
The fine topped a record 899 million euros Microsoft was ordered to pay last year for failing to cooperate with the European Commission in its antitrust battles with the US software giant.
However, Microsoft has accumulated a total fines of 1.676 billion euros in fines and its antitrust saga with Brussels is still ongoing.
EU regulators have been investigating Intel since it received complaints from rival Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) first in 2000.
"The EU decision will shift the power from an abusive monopolist to computer makers, retailers and above all PC consumers," said AMD president for Europe, Middle East and Africa Giuliano Meroni.
Date created : 2009-05-13