EC discloses evidence for Intel's €1.06bn fine

The EC has detailed the evidence it used to base its decision to fine Intel a record €1.06bn fine, arguing that the vendor paid hidden rebates to manufacturers...

The EC has detailed the evidence it used to base its decision to fine Intel a record €1.06bn fine, arguing that the vendor paid hidden rebates to manufacturers and direct payments to cut AMD out of the market.

Intel has long argued that the EC has been selective with its evidence. The latest move to share more of the details of the investigation will re-ignite complaints CEO Paul Ottellini.

According to the EC, Intel made hidden rebates to Dell, Hewlett-Packard NEC and Lenovo on the condition they used Intel's x86s CPUs and direct payments were made to HP, Acer and Lenovo to stop or delay certain product launches.

According to the evidence released by the EC, Dell was given rebates for three years, from December 2002 to December 2005, for buying Intel CPUs. HP and NEC received rebates during nearly the same timeframe. Lenovo was paid rebates in 2007.

"The evidence gathered by the Commission led to the conclusion that Intel's conditional rebates and payments induced the loyalty of key OEMs they significantly diminished competitors' ability to compete on the merits of their x86 CPUs. Intel's anticompetitive conduct thereby resulted in a reduction of consumer choice and in lower incentives to innovate," stated the EC.

The Commission brushed aside the justification given by Intel for paying rebates.

The second major complaint was around the direct payments made to OEMs to postpone or cancel launches of AMD-based products.

Acer was paid to delay the launch of an AMD-based notebook from September 2003 to January 2004. HP received incentives to push back by six months the European launch of its AMD-based business PC. Lenovo was paid to put back notebooks using its rival's chips by six months, in 2006.

"The decision concludes that the Intel conducts directly harmed competition. A product which a supplier had been actively planning to release was delayed or constrained from reaching the market," added the EC in its evidence.

Intel has maintained a position of incredulity at the fine and argued that AMD is in a stronger position now than it was when the legal action started and competition is a feature of any market landscape.

A version of this story originally appeared on MicroScope.

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