AMD is surely feeling good this week -- besides gaining in share on rival Intel last quarter, today the long-running European Comission (EC) antitrust case it started against the chip maker came to an end with a record $1.45 billion fine, superseding the infamous case against Microsoft in 2004. Intel's latest quarterly revenue was $7bn.
The corporation has said it will appeal the ruling, which concerns EC Treaty anti-trust rule Article 82 -- anticompetitive business practices, including having offered rebates to manufacturers who agreed to put its chips in most or all of their computers, paying them to postpone or cancel plans to launch AMD-featured machines, and paying major retailer MediaMarkt to stock only computers with Intel chips; Acer, Dell, HP, Lenovo, and NEC are those included in the manfacturer list, reports EDN.
"Intel takes strong exception to this decision," said Intel's president and CEO Paul Otellini in a statement. "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."
Worth knowing is the corporation appealed a preliminary part of this ruling last year and lost. In short, things don't look good for them, especially as the Commission can increase the fines during the appeals process, as it did with Microsoft.
Otellini went on to note AMD's lower share is the "natural result of a competitive market" whereby "when one company wins sales, the other does not", claiming the Directorate General for Competition of the Commission ignored significant evidence which would contradict the ruling.
"Intel never sells products below cost. We have however, consistently invested in innovation, in manufacturing and in developing leadership technology. The result is that we can discount our products to compete in a highly competitive marketplace, passing along to consumers everywhere the efficiencies of being the world's leading volume manufacturer of microprocessors."
"There should be no doubt whatsoever that Intel will continue to invest in the products and technologies that provide Europe and the rest of the world the industry's best performing processors at lower prices."
AMD CEO Dirk Meyer has responded to the outcome, stating, "Today's ruling is an important step toward establishing a truly competitive market. 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."
Humourously, the EC's Antitrust Commissioner Neelie Kroes said in a news conference today Intel's new advertising campaign slogan should be changed from "sponsors of tomorrow" to "sponsors of the European taxpayer", referring to the money's end-destination.
Analysts expect as before Intel will retain its dominance, but AMD should get a leg up. As for whether or not the corporation's practices will change, that's debated.