As expected, the EU is fining Intel a record €1.06 billion or $1.45 billion (Billion!) dollars due to violations of antitrust rules in Europe. The record fine surpasses that of the €497 million fine originally levied against Microsoft. The EU ruled that Intel illegally used hidden rebates to squeeze rivals out of the marketplace for CPUs. In a statement issued by European Union Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes, the EC said,
Intel has harmed millions of European consumers by deliberately acting to keep competitors out of the market for computer chips for many years.Intel was ordered to cease the illegal practices immediately and has three months from the notification of the decision to pay up. Of course, Intel will appeal and this will drag the litigation on for years as did Microsoft. Regardless, we'll bet that AMD, who raised the complaint against Intel back in 2000, will be celebrating come dawn in Sunnyvale.
Update: Intel has issued a formal response to the ruling saying that the commission "is wrong and ignores the reality of a highly competitive microprocessor marketplace," and that its practices have caused, "absolutely zero harm to consumers." Oh, and it will <gasp> appeal the decision. Hurrah for corporate lawyers!