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AMD Welcomes Intel’s EC Fine

Peter Judge has been involved with tech B2B publishing in the UK for many years, working at Ziff-Davis, ZDNet, IDG and Reed. His main interests are networking security, mobility and cloud

That’s three strikes, from three antitrust agencies, says the rival chipmaker

AMD has welcomed the European Commission ruling that Intel has “harmed millions of consumers” by abusing its dominant position in the global x86 microprocessor market, saying that the decision will help make the processor market competitive.

“Today’s ruling is an important step toward establishing a truly competitive market,” said Dirk Meyer, AMD chief executive. “AMD has consistently been a technology innovation leader and we are looking forward to the move from a world in which Intel ruled, to one which is ruled by customers.”

Intel has been fined more than €1 billion by the EC, for “deliberately acting to keep competitors out of the market for computer chips for many years”, by offering rebates to computer manufacturers, on the condition that they stuck with Intel for the x86 chips, and even making payments specifically on condition that manufacturers postponed or cancelled the launch of AMD-based products. The EC also said Intel had “sought to conceal the conditions associated with its payments.”

“After an exhaustive investigation, the EU came to one conclusion – Intel broke the law and consumers were hurt,” said Tom McCoy, AMD executive vice president for legal affairs. “With this ruling, the industry will benefit from an end to Intel’s monopoly-inflated pricing and European consumers will enjoy greater choice, value and innovation.”

The EC ruling follows similar decisions by anti-trust bodies in Korea and Japan, AMD said. In 2008, the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) fined Intel 26 billion won (around £17 million) for bribing vendors not to use AMD – a ruling that Intel is appealing. And the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) found Intel violated anti-monopoly laws by forcing Japanese PC makers to stick to Intel.

Intel is being investigated by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and AMD has filed a complaint, which should reach court in Spring 2010.