updated 10:45 am EDT, Mon May 11, 2009
EU Likely to Fine Intel
Sources said late yesterday that the European Commission will rule against Intel on Wednesday for its purported anti-competitive behavior versus AMD. Those aware of the case have told Reuters that the Commission will not only issue a fine but force Intel to change the way it sells processors in Europe. Intel's attempts to hinder AMD's success were "naked," according to the tip.
New details have also surfaced regarding the allegations and reportedly prove that Intel explicitly told certain PC makers how many of their systems were allowed to incorporate non-Intel chips. A less essential PC maker for Intel, NEC, was told it could only ship 20 percent of its systems with AMD processors. Companies that have traditionally favored Intel, including Dell, HP and Lenovo, were told their systems had to be totally or near-totally exclusive Intel systems.
Besides asking Intel to loosen these restrictions, the Commission is also likely to force Intel to stop offering rebates directly to PC makers as part of an effort to price AMD out of the market, and will argue that Intel paid off companies directly to either postpone or cancel products that would have shipped with AMD processors inside.
Intel has repeatedly denied abusing its position, saying that its approaches were legal and part of fair competition.
While the abuses are believed to have been committed since 2001, some of the barriers have been lifted with more Dell and HP systems likely to include AMD chips in recent years. AMD has also very lately been regaining some share of the world market thanks to better processors.