The European Union is on the verge of fining Intel for anticompetitive behavior in competition with its chief rival Advanced Micro Devices. Action is imminent, although the companies haven’t said anything yet about a ruling, The Wall Street Journal reports.
If the fines are heavy and the legal findings tough, Intel could face a future full of litigation around the world that could eat into its monopoly profits in microprocessors. Intel has more than 80 percent of the microprocessor market for personal computers.
The case in Europe is critical to AMD’s future, since antitrust enforcement in Europe is more strict than in other parts of the world, including the U.S. The case stems from complaints that AMD filed back in 2000. Intel has faced antitrust actions in South Korea and Japan but faces no big fines yet. Those cases opened the way for AMD to file private suits that have yet to be resolved.
The allegations hinge on whether Intel unfairly foreclosed on AMD’s ability to win customers through deals that gave computer makers incentives to stick with Intel only. AMD helped investigators with their research and has its own private antitrust suits with Intel. Intel has said its actions are legal and that any deals where it offers incentives to customers face a great deal of legal scrutiny.
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