In a long, drawn-out lawsuit that’s been going on for several years now, Intel has finally come to an agreement with all parties and reached an out-of-court settlement. This relates to a lawsuit that was brought to US courts, alleging that Intel paid Hewlett-Packard and other OEMs to use their Pentium 4 processors over the competition from AMD and doctored benchmarks to make their processors more attractive than their competitor’s. Almost fifteen years later, people who bought HP machines and others can claim back some money from the settlement, though it’s capped out at $15.
The settlement covers the period of August 2000 to June 2002, during which Intel had Pentium 4 processors available on socket 478 pin-grid-array motherboards. These were the early Netburst chips that ran incredibly hot and were very power-hungry, which lead to overheating and throttling for a large number of customers. This was part of the reason why benchmarks were doctored because of the issues with Netburst processors in the early years.
Neither company has ever admitted guilt to the allegations and the settlement is just to see the end of the case and free Intel and HP from the ongoing litigation. Intel went on to cause more problems for AMD worldwide by paying off OEMs and distributors to market and sell their processors more, but that also wasn’t something the company admitted to.
Part of the settlement conditions Intel agreed to was to donate $4 million to non-profit organisations in the States focusing on providing better education to young students. If anyone in South Africa bought a machine equipped with a Pentium 4 processor during that time period, you’re out of luck – the settlement only applies to residents in the United States, even though the problem was also a global issue for Intel and its partners.
Thanks to several non-competitive practices that Intel indulged in for the last fifteen years, the chip-maker is now the dominant manufacturer of x86 processors in today’s market and has a complete strangehold on the notebook market and in desktop and All-in-One computers sold by OEMs.