May 11, 2009 / 1:53 PM / 11 years ago

FACTBOX: Five facts on Intel vs AMD rivalry

(Reuters) - EU antitrust regulators are expected to say this week that Intel Corp illegally paid computer makers to postpone or cancel the launch of PCs containing chips made by rival Advanced Micro Devices.

Following are five facts on the rivalry between the two:

MARKET SHARE

Last year Intel made 80.5 percent of the microprocessors that power personal computers, gaining share each quarter, helped by the success of its Atom chip in the emerging netbook sector and by the continued strength of its brands and products in the desktop, notebook and server segments.

AMD had 12 percent of the market.

The firms’ combined market share rose last year for the third year in a row to 92.5 percent, compared with 90.9 percent in 2006, according to research firm iSuppli.

RELATIVE SIZE

Intel, based in Santa Clara, California, made revenues of $37.6 billion in 2008. It employed 83,900 staff at the end of 2008, more than half in the United States. Its market value is $85.4 billion and it is the world’s biggest chip maker.

AMD, based in Sunnyvale, California, made revenues of $5.8 billion in 2008. It employs about 11,000 people and has a market value of $2.6 billion.

CASE IN BRUSSELS

The European Commission has already said Intel’s pricing practices — in particular rebates to computer makers and retailers — were aimed at driving AMD out of the market.

In two formal charge sheets laid out in July 2007 and July 2008, the Commission said Intel gave rebates to computer makers so long as they agreed to obtain most or all of their processor-chips from Intel and made payments to induce computer makers either to delay or cancel the launch of products using AMD chips.

The U.S. tech group has denied the charges that it was abusing its market dominance, arguing its conduct had been lawful and beneficial to clients and consumers.

CASES ELSEWHERE

In December 2008 Intel filed a formal complaint to overturn an earlier South Korean antitrust ruling that it had abused its dominant market position.

Intel said in a statement its filing to the Seoul High Court asserted that the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) made substantial factual and legal errors in formulating its final opinion.

The KFTC said in June 2008 that Intel offered rebates to South Korean personal computer makers in return for their not buying microprocessors from AMD. Intel was also fined.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission launched a probe into Intel after South Korean authorities fined it for offering rebates in return for not buying AMD products.

The group faces more legal woes as a U.S. lawsuit brought by AMD is set to go to court in 2010. Intel also faces dozens of separate class actions, filed in various U.S. courts, modeled on the AMD complaint.

U.S. License BATTLE

In March 2009 Intel accused AMD of breaching the terms of a cross-licensing agreement between the two, a charge that AMD denied.

Intel alleged its rival ran foul of a 2001 patent agreement when it created the Globalfoundries joint venture, the $4.3 billion semiconductor manufacturer spun off from AMD.

Compiled by Tarmo Virki, editing by Will Waterman

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