With the European Commission (EC) all set to decide on the anti trust allegations against Intel, analysts are pointing to the possibility of the chip giant receiving a multi billion dollar fine for its anti-competitive behaviour.
With reports floating around that suggest Intel may receive a fine that may top the staggering $1.36 billion fine that Microsoft received from the European Commission, Intel may soon have to brace up for a major damage control exercise.
To complicate the matters for Intel, there is already a growing sentiment in some quarters in USA that the soft anti-trust approach followed under the previous Bush administration should be set aside and the new administration must be ready to pursue such cases with vigour.
Incidentally the current case against Intel is based on a complaint by rival chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) which has accused Intel of attempting to push it out of the market by using its clout.
Some of the practices that Intel is accused of include offering attractive rebates to manufactures who agree only to buy products from it and can cancel product lines that incorporated AMD chips to offering processors well below the market cost in competitive bids against AMD.
It is interesting to note that Intel has been subject to investigations related to unfair trade practices in several countries including Japan and South Korea and it is also facing an anti-trust lawsuit in a federal court in Delaware, United States from its rival AMD.
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Intel's stranglehold on the microprocessor industry is certainly bigger than the one Microsoft has on the operating system business. Microsoft may have more money in the bank, but Intel certainly has the most influence in the industry. The Open Source legions have managed to erode Microsoft's clout over the year. Intel however still remain a formidable actor with the x86 platform still dominant.