Intel fined £948m for illegal secret payments
13th May 2009 | 10:40
EU hands out record fine for breaking anti-trust laws
Intel has been handed a record fine by the EU for covert payments to help it maintain its position as the dominant computer chipmaker.
The European Commission handed out the €1.06bn (£948m) fine for 'anti-competitive practices', which it must pay within three months of notification of the decision.
The Commission found that Intel had been paying manufacturers and retailers to favour its products over the likes of AMD, the world's second biggest chip producer and the originator of the complaint, in the form of hidden rebates.
It said that Intel had been using the scheme to lure the likes of NEC, Acer, Dell, HP, and Lenovo to use only its products, as well as Media Saturn, owner of Media Markt, Europe's biggest electronics retailer to only sell computers containing its chips.
"Intel has harmed millions of European consumers by deliberately acting to keep competitors out of the market for computer chips for many years," said Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes.
"Such a serious and sustained violation of the EU's antitrust rules cannot be tolerated."
Intel was obviously also ordered to cease said practices immediately "to the extent they are still ongoing" in order to help the industry return to a fair and even system.
The EC investigated the claims back to 2002, although the investigation first began after a complaint by AMD back in 2001.
The figure dwarfs that given to Microsoft for abusing its dominant position in 2004, when it was ordered to pay €497 million.