Intel may face civil charges in Europe

The doors to potential civil action have now been opened, and in addition to the $1.44 billion dollar record breaking fine Intel received for violating anti-trust laws the company could now have bigger fish to fry.

After ruling that Intel had offered kickbacks and issued secret payments to retailers in exchanged for exclusivity in the sale of the Intel brand, rather than those of competitors  and additionally offered computer manufacturers rebates for using Intel chips instead of AMD’s, the European Commission slapped the company with one of the largest ever antitrust fines.

Intel of course, denies all charges and has intent to appeal the EU ruling.

For now, however if competitors like AMD make the decision to file civil action based upon the EU’s regulatory action then Intel could be hit pretty hard. AMD, as well as other companies who were affected, have every right to go after damages as the EU fine goes directly to the EU and not to the parties which suffered at the hands of Intel’s antitrust breaches.

AMD is looking toward the future regarding the EC’s ruling, “Today’s ruling is an important step toward establishing a truly competitive market,” stated AMD president and CEO, Dirk Meyer.

This is not Intel’s first antitrust issue. In 2005 the Japan Fair Trade Commission ruled that Intel had violated the company’s anti-monopoly laws by forcing both complete and partial exclusivity upon five different Japanese PC manufactures.  In 2008 Korea fined Intel $25.4 million for abusing its position of dominance in the chip market.