- Title: VARIOUS: EU slaps Intel with record 1 billion euro antitrust fine
- Date: 14th May 2009
- Summary: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM (MAY 13, 2009) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF EUROPEAN COMMISSION EU FLAGS FLYING
- Embargoed: 29th May 2009 13:00
- Topics: Crime / Law Enforcement,Science / Technology
- Reuters ID: LVADBNK00XNG911PK1DWB43EMJ27
- Story Text: The European Commission imposed a record 1.06 billion euros ($1.45 billion) fine on chipmaker Intel Corp on Wednesday (May 13) accusing Intel of illegal practices and abusive behaviour.
The Commission ordered Intel 'cease the illegal practices immediately to the extent that they are still ongoing.' 'The Commission has ordered Intel to cease the illegal practices immediately to the extent that they are still ongoing and to refrain from these and any equivalent practices in the future. The Commission of course will be monitoring Intel's compliance closely and for this abusive behaviour the Commission has fined Intel 1 billion 60 million euros,' EU Commissioner for competition Neelie Kroes told a news conference.
The Commission, tasked with ensuring companies do not abuse any market dominance or make deals that restrict competition in the 27-country European Union, started its investigation into Intel in 2001 after a complaint by rival chipmaker AMD.
AMD has also filed a U.S. lawsuit against Intel, which is set to be heard in court in 2010.
The Commission concluded Intel paid computer makers to postpone or cancel plans to launch products that used AMD chips, paid illegal, secret rebates so computer makers would use mostly or entirely Intel chips, and paid a major retailer to stock only computers with its chips.
Kroes said Intel's practices prevented AMD from competing with Intel and undermined innovation.
'Those conditions to buy less of AMD products or to not buy them at all prevented AMD from competing with Intel on the merit of its products. Ladies and gentlemen, this removed the possibility of genuine choice for consumers and undermined innovation,' Kroes said.
The EU antitrust fine is the biggest imposed on an individual company, exceeding an 896-million euro penalty last year against glass maker Saint-Gobain for price fixing, and a 497-million euro fine in 2004 on Microsoft for abuse of dominance.
Kroes said the 1.06 billion fine was justified.
'Given that Intel has armed millions and 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,' Kroes concluded.
The Commission investigated practices dating back to 2002, and said Europe accounted for 30 percent of Intel's current worldwide 22 billion euro market.
The Commission said Intel must pay the fine, which represents 4.15 percent of the company's 2008 turnover, within three months of the date of the notification of the decision.
Intel's microprocessors power eight out of every 10 PCs in the world.
The Commission said Intel was also investigated in Japan, South Korea and the United States.
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