Today Intel agreed to pay rival chipmaker AMD $1.25 billion to settle a raft of ongoing litigation going back decades. AMD accused Intel of anti-competitive practices, which sparked an antitrust investigation. By settling now with AMD, Intel could avoids paying out billions more down the line and being branded a monopolist by the government for abusing its 80 percent PC-chip market share.
The size of the settlement is as close to an admission of guilt we’ll ever hear from Intel. It still maintains its innocence, as any prudent corporation would, but you don’t pay out $1.25 billion just to avoid the hassle of a trial. And while $1.25 billion is an enormous sum which will help shore up AMD’s balance sheet, it amounts to only 10 percent of Intel’s $12.9 billion in cash and short term investments.
Just to put the size of the settlement in context, last year Intel’s revenues were $38 billion. Last quarter alone, it was making roughly $104 million a day. At that rate, Intel brings in $1.25 billion every 12 days. It can absorb the settlement pretty easily.