Intel braces for billion Euro fine

Biggest ever fine expected


European competition authorities are expected to release their verdict on Intel's allegedly anti-competitive behaviour this week, and it's not looking good for the chip maker.

The Commission's decision was sent to national bodies in April and will be presented to the Commission on Wednesday. The court is widely expected to find Intel guilty of anticompetitive behaviour.

'Steely' Neelie Kroes, Europe's Competition Commissioner, can fine Intel up to ten per cent of its annual turnover, which would mean a $3.8bn penalty. That would beat the €1.35bn fine, the previous largest, which Microsoft agreed to pay.

Intel is also likely to be hit with behavioural orders as well as a fine. The company will have to change the way it offers marketing funds and rebates to partners.

The case has been dragging on since 2000 when AMD made its complaint. Last year Intel and Dixons offices across Europe were raided by competition investigators.

The chip giant is accused of offering original equipment manufacturers and retailers rebates and marketing funds if they agreed not to carry products using chips from rival AMD.

Intel asked for more time to respond to the Commission's Statement of Objections back in January, the EC refused. ®


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