updated 08:20 pm EST, Thu February 9, 2012
Intel gets away with minor payout to avoid lawsuit
Intel and New York state together stated Thursday that they had settled New York's antitrust lawsuit. The chip designer had managed to pay just $6.5 million and avoided having to admit or change its behavior over the wrongdoing. Its light penalty came after a district court judge had previously ruled that New York couldn't get tripled damages for willful violations and cut the statute on those affected by half, to three years.
The firm had been accused in November 2009 of using its dominance of processors to push PC builders away from AMD both in the US and worldwide. Among the tactics Intel had allegedly used included price dumping, or charging well below its usual price with knowledge its rival couldn't compete, as well as questionable incentives to companies to either exclude AMD-based PCs from their lineups or avoid significant marketing for what systems they had. Vendors were reportedly threatened with 'punishment' if they dared to create a level playing field.
Intel has always insisted that everything it has done was level and contested the lawsuits. However, its arguments have been drowned out by a series of antitrust cases worldwide that all accused it of the same activity in their specific regions. Intel paid $1.25 billion to AMD to avoid federal action in the US with promises it would change its activity, but it was fined roughly $1.45 billion in Europe and is still trying to appeal that verdict.
The effect of the settlements and fines isn't clear, but AMD has managed to hold on to a significant minority of the processor market. Intel still gets record sales, but it's facing trouble from ARM-based devices like the iPad that it can't easily block.