Intel: What's a little antitrust fine when orders are improving?

Intel Corp. (INTC) was fined a record €1.06 billion ($1.44 billion) on Wednesday by the European Union. The EU said the largest chip maker in the world, with 80 percent of the personal computer microprocessor market, used illegal sales tactics to block smaller rival Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) -- its only rival in the personal computer space. The fine represents 4.15 percent of the company's 2008 turnover, and Intel must pay it within three months.

Intel has the dubious glory of beating Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) €899 million fine it received as a monopoly abuse penalty. What's more, Intel's fine could have actually been higher if regulators used the full letter of the law.