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Intel Hit With $1.45 Billion Fine From EU

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 65 comments

The European Union has fined Intel a record breaking $1.45 billion in relation to antitrust charges against the company.

European Antitrust regulators have been reviewing Intel’s case for a very long time, believing the company’s pricing model was an attempt to drive competition out of the market. Intel denied the charges related to rebates offered as long as manufacturers agreed to obtain the majority of their processors from Intel as well as paying them to either to delay or cancel the launch of AMD based products. The company maintained its actions were within legal boundaries.

In a statement this morning, the EU’s Competition Commissioner says Intel “harmed millions of European consumers deliberately” and the fines shouldn’t surprise anyone. "Given that Intel has harmed millions of European consumers by deliberately acting to keep competitors out of the market for over five years, the size of the fine should come as no surprise," said Neelie Kroes.

Intel on the other hand is not happy and plans to appeal the decision, claiming it “ignores the reality of the highly competitive microprocessor market.” The fine itself amounts to a mere 4.15 percent of Intel’s annual revenue ($38 billion in 2008), and given that the European Union is, by law, allowed to fine up to 10 percent of that figure, we’re a little surprised at the leniency of it all.

The decision comes amid speculation that Intel could come under similar scrutiny in the United States following resolute statements from the White House regarding anti competitive behavior.

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  • 21 Hide
    SneakySnake , May 13, 2009 1:17 PM
    I really hope that AMD will finally be allowed back into the market now. Sure there CPU's aren't quite as good on the performance scale, but you get immense bang for you buck. The Phenom II 955 can hit 4 GHz without passing 1.5 volts
  • 16 Hide
    shqtth , May 13, 2009 1:31 PM
    AMD cpus could be awesome if AMD just had the cash comming in.

    I say that AMD is competing pretty awesome for a company that has been kicked in the nuts. So if AMD just had those extra sales, well that would put amd back on track.


    AMD had to do that wierd Fab thing becuase it lacked cash. AMD would still be a whole (not having to sell out their fabs in a wierd way)if they were not kicked in the nuts.

    When the Athlon first came out AMD was increasing market share like crazy and yet for some reason they were stuck thanks to intel.
    Could you imagine what AMD would be like today if Intel played fair?
  • 16 Hide
    matt2k , May 13, 2009 1:10 PM
    oh and kudos to whover figured out how to remove that first post being a summary of the article. was starting to bug me
Other Comments
    Display all 65 comments.
  • 5 Hide
    matt2k , May 13, 2009 1:09 PM
    I hope this means lower prices all round :) 
    though it will likely only affect OEM builds n such. tis a pity.

    and that is taking into account that intel will stop doing this...
  • 16 Hide
    matt2k , May 13, 2009 1:10 PM
    oh and kudos to whover figured out how to remove that first post being a summary of the article. was starting to bug me
  • 21 Hide
    SneakySnake , May 13, 2009 1:17 PM
    I really hope that AMD will finally be allowed back into the market now. Sure there CPU's aren't quite as good on the performance scale, but you get immense bang for you buck. The Phenom II 955 can hit 4 GHz without passing 1.5 volts
  • 2 Hide
    scook9 , May 13, 2009 1:25 PM
    +1 and +1. although I am dissappointed in Intel. Yes they make nice processors, but what the hell. If the EU ruling holds, there is NO way nothing will happen here in America. I don't want Intel pulling this shit here, but I don't want them running around nudered and scared either. They HAVE to appeal the EU fine regardless of amount - and yes they were lucky it was so "little" - because not doing so says they were guilty, just like prepaying a traffic ticket, it is admitting the guilt.
  • 7 Hide
    MountainFlip , May 13, 2009 1:29 PM
    When the EU fines Intel, who is Intel actually paying the fine to?
  • 4 Hide
    randomizer , May 13, 2009 1:30 PM
    scook9If the EU ruling holds, there is NO way nothing will happen here in America. I don't want Intel pulling this shit here, but I don't want them running around nudered and scared either.

    It's already happened in the US.
  • 16 Hide
    shqtth , May 13, 2009 1:31 PM
    AMD cpus could be awesome if AMD just had the cash comming in.

    I say that AMD is competing pretty awesome for a company that has been kicked in the nuts. So if AMD just had those extra sales, well that would put amd back on track.


    AMD had to do that wierd Fab thing becuase it lacked cash. AMD would still be a whole (not having to sell out their fabs in a wierd way)if they were not kicked in the nuts.

    When the Athlon first came out AMD was increasing market share like crazy and yet for some reason they were stuck thanks to intel.
    Could you imagine what AMD would be like today if Intel played fair?
  • 2 Hide
    shqtth , May 13, 2009 1:37 PM
    The scary thing about the EU as the EU is pretty big, is that the EU could impose import duties/taxes on Intel CPUs if it wanted to level the playing field. And that would affect a lot of countries/sales. Or if Intel doesn't pay the fine, it could ban the sales and import of Intel CPUs in the EU. Either way it would be a plus for AMD.
  • -4 Hide
    apache_lives , May 13, 2009 1:38 PM
    ShqTthAMD cpus could be awesome if AMD just had the cash comming in.I say that AMD is competing pretty awesome for a company that has been kicked in the nuts. So if AMD just had those extra sales, well that would put amd back on track.AMD had to do that wierd Fab thing becuase it lacked cash. AMD would still be a whole (not having to sell out their fabs in a wierd way)if they were not kicked in the nuts.When the Athlon first came out AMD was increasing market share like crazy and yet for some reason they were stuck thanks to intel. Could you imagine what AMD would be like today if Intel played fair?


    They had plenty of cash coming in in the Athlon 64 early days when Pentium 4's and Pentium D's were cheap, hot and slow and the A64's and X2's allowed for a premium price for the better more efficent option etc - all they gave us is the Phenom - wouldnt say your statement is entirely true
  • 4 Hide
    ThePatriot , May 13, 2009 1:39 PM
    The EU was very kind towards Intel: the fine could have been 4 billion (i.e. 10% of turnover). Just a fine to get their attention.
    Intel awaits same charges in Japan and Korea; maybe US follows.
    That will add up.
    Chuckle.
  • 11 Hide
    bill gates is your daddy , May 13, 2009 1:44 PM
    hikayuoh so this mean what ? stop marketing intel's latest chip and sell only crappy old chip ? come on ! it's nbot intel's fault AMD cant follow .thx EU , way to boost the darn market.


    Are you retarded or do you take night classes on how to become a world-class douche?

    "rebates offered as long as manufacturers agreed to obtain the majority of their processors from Intel as well as paying them to either to delay or cancel the launch of AMD based products."

    This case has nothing to do with Intel marketing their latest chip or if you believe that AMD cannot keep up with Intel (imo they do). This case is about Intel essentially PAYING retailers to not carry AMD or delay release of AMD products. That's F'ed up right there.

    AMD produces a great product. They make processors that do everything that Intel can do and AMD makes it more cost effective. Buy AMD and take that $100+ you just saved and put it toward a better GPU. Buy ATI and save some more. AMD is playing the game and playing it very well but you can’t ever get an Intel fanboi to admit that.

    I like Intel products and have always supported them but this time I am building all AMD because I have enough intelligence to recognize a price bargin without taking a performance loss.

    On that note. Tom, there is a review you can do. $1500 cap but underspending is encouraged and will count toward the final score - AMD/ATI vs Intel/Nvidia and see which produces a more cost effective setup.
  • 2 Hide
    nerdherd , May 13, 2009 1:49 PM
    MountainFlipWhen the EU fines Intel, who is Intel actually paying the fine to?

    I'd like to know this same thing...if the fine goes to the EU only then it's just a load of bull. Since they are fining them for hurting the "consumers" then either the money should go to those millions of consumers or the money should go to competitors as payments for lost revenue. Anyone know how it actually works?
  • 2 Hide
    roofus , May 13, 2009 1:56 PM
    Food for thought here is that 1. AMD wont see but a meager token offering from this imposed fine. 2. Even IF Intel relents on their backroom deals with major OEM's that does not fix AMD's poor marketing and sales problems. If they do actually absorb a grand chunk of market at the end of this ( I highly doubt it but it is possible down the road) they also have to be able to fulfill orders on time and adhere to product release dates. They have been their own worse enemy in spite of Intel and their monopolistic tactics.
  • 4 Hide
    b33fcak3 , May 13, 2009 2:07 PM
    The EU would fine a maximum percentage of 10% if it needed the money for these so called deficiets. This is proven to be false exactly by the fact that they only fining a total of about 3.8% which suggestes a genuine fine instead of your proposed harasment of Intel.

    And what would you possible have to say to Obama to make him consider talking to the EU, one of your country's main trading parterns over a measily 1.45 billion and ruining relations with their trade commision, thats just greedy and helps the world economy in no way.
  • -5 Hide
    superblahman123 , May 13, 2009 2:45 PM
    b33fcak3The EU would fine a maximum percentage of 10% if it needed the money for these so called deficiets. This is proven to be false exactly by the fact that they only fining a total of about 3.8% which suggestes a genuine fine instead of your proposed harasment of Intel.And what would you possible have to say to Obama to make him consider talking to the EU, one of your country's main trading parterns over a measily 1.45 billion and ruining relations with their trade commision, thats just greedy and helps the world economy in no way.


    You can call it a "measly $1.45 billion", but do you know what that means in the states? It means jobs, lots of them. It means expansion to create more jobs, lots of expansion. Of course they wouldn't even try to get the 10% because they know they wouldn't get it without getting booed away by or make international news frontpage headlines over it. Not to mention that this fine is only targeting Intel for their money to go toward some foriegn government that is claiming, "they're being bad to AMD, so give *us* money" which makes just as much sense as little johnny taking little jimmy's lunch money and johnny having to pay his teacher a fine. This is all ridiculous
  • 3 Hide
    dark_lord69 , May 13, 2009 2:56 PM
    YAY!! F*ck intel and their high prices.
  • -3 Hide
    maximiza , May 13, 2009 3:09 PM
    And in other news Intel lays off 10,000 people! This really won't fix anything. You will just get a richer career politican.
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