Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Gaza: A Truce At All Costs?

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Central African Republic: Brazzaville ceasefire talks deliver fragile deal

Read more

FOCUS

Sluggish tourist season in Crimea

Read more

ENCORE!

Bartabas : Mixing Christ with Spanish music and dancing horses

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Shifts in the propaganda war waged between Israelis and Palestinians

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French MPs face quandary in pro-Palestinian rallies

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Yezid Sayigh, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut

Read more

#TECH 24

Mind the Gender Gap : getting more women into the tech sector

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Bolivian children: heading to work aged 10

Read more

  • Wreckage of Algeria plane found in Mali

    Read more

  • Air Algérie crash: 'We should eliminate the missile hypothesis'

    Read more

  • Protest turns deadly as Palestinians rally against Gaza offensive

    Read more

  • Deadly strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Pope meets with Sudanese Christian woman sentenced to death for apostasy

    Read more

  • Italy’s Nibali cruises to easy victory in 18th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • Iraqi parliament elects moderate Kurd as president

    Read more

  • US, European aviation agencies lift travel restrictions to Tel Aviv

    Read more

  • No end to fighting until Israel ends Gaza blockade, Hamas says

    Read more

  • Two foreign women shot dead in western Afghanistan

    Read more

  • At least 60 killed in attack on prison convoy near Baghdad

    Read more

  • Cycling is ‘winning the war on doping,’ says expert

    Read more

  • Ceasefire agreed for Central African Republic

    Read more

  • Can Jew-kissing-Arab selfie give peace a viral chance?

    Read more

Business

Intel to appeal EU fine of 1 billion euros

Video by Katherine SPENCER

Latest update : 2009-05-13

US computer chip giant Intel has hit back at the European Commission's record 1.06-billion-euro fine for anti-competitive practices, saying it would fight the ruling with an appeal in EU courts.

AFP - EU antitrust regulators fined US chip giant Intel a record 1.06 billion euros (1.45 billion dollars) on Wednesday, claiming it abused its stranglehold on the semiconductor market to crush its main rival.
   
The company hit back, saying it would fight the ruling with an appeal in EU courts, raising the spectre of a new antitrust saga between Brussels and a US technology giant after Microsoft's years of European legal battles.
   
The European Commission, Europe's top competition watchdog, accused Intel of using illegal loyalty rebates to squeeze rivals out of the market for central processing units (CPUs) -- the brains inside personal computers.
   
The Santa Clara, California-based company dominated the 22-billion-euro (30-billion-dollar) market for the ubiquitous x86 CPUs with a 70-percent share during the more than five years it was accused of breaking EU antitrust rules.
   
"Intel has harmed millions of European consumers by deliberately acting to keep competitors out of the market for computer chips for many years," EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said.
   
"Such a serious and sustained violation of the EU's antitrust rules cannot be tolerated," she added.
   
The commission said Intel had used wholly or partially hidden rebates to get PC makers such as Acer, Dell, HP, Lenovo and NEC to buy all or almost all their CPU supplies from Intel instead of US rival Advanced Micro Devices (AMD).
   
"Naturally, the commission favours strong, vigorous price competition, including by dominant firms," Kroes told reporters in Brussels.
   
"However, Intel went beyond normal price competition by giving rebates to computer manufacturers on the condition that they bought all, or almost all, of their CPUs from Intel."
   
Intel general counsel Bruce Sewell defended the rebates, arguing that computer makers approach the company seeking reductions and stressing that "there is no evidence that we were pricing below cost."
   
EU antitrust regulators also accused Intel of paying computer manufacturers to halt or put off the launch of products containing microchips competing with Intel's x86.
   
In addition, Intel allegedly paid a major electronic retailer, chain store MediaMarkt, to stock computers equipped with its chips.
   
The commission ordered Intel to cease any of the ongoing practices which it deemed to break EU rules.
   
Intel did not hesitate in challenging the commission's ruling.
   
"We believe the decision is wrong and ignores the reality of a highly competitive microprocessor marketplace," Intel president and chief executive Paul Otellini said.
   
"There has been absolutely zero harm to consumers. Intel will appeal," he said.
   
Intel's fine topped the previous 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.
   
Microsoft has moreover accumulated a total fines of 1.68 billion euros and its antitrust struggle with Brussels is still ongoing.
   
EU regulators have been investigating Intel since it received complaints from AMD in 2000 and filed formal antitrust charges against the company in July 2007 and then again in July 2008.
   
"Today's ruling is an important step toward establishing a truly competitive market," AMD president and chief executive Dirk Meyer said in a statement.
   
"AMD has consistently been a technology innovation leader and we are looking forward to the move from a world in which Intel ruled, to one which is ruled by customers."
   
The commission fines could be only the beginning of Intel's problems, with the BEUC European consumer-protection association calling for a class action suit against the company to seek compensation.
   
"Consumers have been paying too much for their computers and they should be compensated," BEUC director general Monique Goyens said, welcoming the commission's ruling.
   
Competition watchdogs in Japan and South Korea have already accused Intel of abusing its dominant market position and US antitrust regulators stepped up a review last June by filing a subpoena for more information.

Date created : 2009-05-13

COMMENT(S)