Here's one record that Intel won't want: the chip maker has just been hit by the European Union's biggest fine for anti-competitive practices.

The company must pay a whopping 1.06bn (£948m) dwarfing the 497m fine levied on Microsoft in 2004.

The fine followed the investigation by the EC into Intel's practices. In 2007, rival chip vendor AMD had complained that Intel had been abusing its position by paying rebates to PC vendors if they used Intel chips.

The commission found that Acer, Dell, HP, Lenovo and NEC had all gone down that route, restricting AMD‘s access to the lucrative European market.

European Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said that "Whenever dominant companies use their market position to exclude competitors, innovation suffers - and consumers are harmed because they are denied choice".

She said that Intel's illegal actions had been designed "to preserve Intel's market share at a time when their only significant rival - AMD - was a growing threat to Intel's position. This threat was widely recognised by both computer manufacturers and in Intel's own internal documents seen by the Commission."

In addition to paying the rebates, the Commission found that Intel had actively sought to restrict the availability of AMD-powered products by paying vendors to postpone or cancel the launch of PCs containing the vendor's processors.

Intel has said that it plans to appeal at Europe's Court of First Instance against the ruling.

"Intel takes exception to this decision. We believe the decision is wrong and ignores the reality of a highly competitive microprocessor market," Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini said in a statement.