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Intel To Appeal $1.45 billion EU Antitrust Fine

Intel, the world's biggest semiconductor company and one of the most influential tech firms, has been handed a record $1.45 billion fine following an investigation by the European Union.

The computer chip maker is accused of abusing its market position to exclude its only major competitor, AMD (Advanced Micro Devices); the European Union claims that Intel has provided a number of computer manufacturers - including Acer, Dell, HP, Lenovo and NEC - with significant financial incentives to favour Intel rather than AMD processors.

Furthermore, at least one computer reseller was given financial gratifications to exclude AMD-based products altogether. AMD currently occupies around 20 percent of the x86 micro processor market and has been suffering significant financial losses in the past few years.

The European Commission Competition head honcho, Neelie Kroes, said that "Intel has harmed millions of European consumers by deliberately acting to keep competitors out of the market for computer chips for many years, Such a serious and sustained violation of the EU's antitrust rules cannot be tolerated."

Intel has issued a statement on the company's blog saying that "Intel takes strong exception to this decision. We believe the decision is wrong and ignores the reality of a highly competitive microprocessor marketplace - characterized by constant innovation, improved product performance and lower prices. There has been absolutely zero harm to consumers. Intel will appeal".

Significantly, Microsoft was the other big US technology company to have received a fine from the European Union. Back in 2004, they were ordered to pay 497 million Euros because they were found guilty of proactively trying to block competition in a number of key markets.

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Our Comments

News of the Intel fine barely dented the company's share price. AMD, obviously saw a rise, recording a 4.10 percent jump but that's academic as far as we are concerned. The problem is that Intel is nearly 30 times bigger than AMD for example and AMD is the ONLY company that separates Intel from total world domination. Microsoft on the other side has a flurry of companies to compete with.

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Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.