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EU fines Intel $1.44 billion

Commission slaps record punishment on chip-maker for 'illegal sales tactics'

Chip-maker Intel has been hit with a USD 1.44 billion fine by the European Commission for illegal sales tactics - a record punishment - although the company plans to appeal the decision.

The fine was issued with respect to Intel's battle with AMD and the Commission noted that the company broke European Union competition laws in the process.

Intel, which labelled the decision as "wrong" according to The Globe and Mail, has also been told to cease and desist certain sales practices - although no details on which practices have been released.

"The decision is wrong," said Intel CEO Paul Otellini, further claiming that "there has been absolutely zero harm to consumers," although the company agreed to comply with the EU ruling.

AMD Europe president Giuliano Meroni meanwhile praised the decision, claiming that the ruling will "will shift the power from an abusive monopolist to computer makers, retailers and above all PC consumers."

One of the key reasons behind the EU decision was Intel's practice of giving rebates to certain PC manufacturers for buying its processors, while at the same time paying them to stop or delay the launch of hardware containing AMD 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 EU competition commissioner Neelie Kroes. "Such a serious and sustained violation of the EU's antitrust rules cannot be tolerated."

"I can give my vision of tomorrow for Intel here and now: Abide by the law," she added.

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