Intel is the latest company to incur the wrath of the EU Competition Commission. A fine of €1.06bn has been imposed by Commissioner Neelie Kroes on the US chipmaker for abusing its dominant position between 2002and 2007.
During that time Intel held a 70% share of the market for central processor units (cpu’s), the chips that computers need in order to function. The Commission found that Intel actively discouraged computer manufacturers,including Acer,Dell,and HP from using CPU’s produced by its main rivals AMD in their products. They did this by paying the manufacturers to restrict sales of AMD chipped products. The fine is the biggest ever imposed and has left Intel feeling hard done by.
This is the second time that Ms Kroes has left an IT giant reeling. In 2004 the Commission fined Microsoft a then record €497m for resticting the data needed to allow rival operating systems interface with its Windows system. As well as the fine,Microsoft were ordered to disclose the required information within 120 days. When it dragged its heels on providing this information it was again fined in 2006 (€280m) and in 2008(€899m).