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Intel could face civil suits after EU fine

The record fine against Intel for violating European competition laws could open the floodgates for civil actions. The European Commission found that Intel made secret payments and offered kickbacks to retailers in exchange for them exclusively stocking Intel products and not those of rivals. But Intel could face even more payouts if Intel competitors, such as AMD, take civil cases on the back of the Commission’s regulatory action, says antitrust lawyer Alan Davis of London-based Pinsent Masons.  “The fine goes to the European Commission’s coffers, not to the competitors who suffered damage to their businesses because of Intel’s anti-competitive practices,” he said. “What is likely to happen is that action will be started and a massive settlement will be made.” Davis said the fine heralded a new era of tough anti-competitive enforcement in Europe, a sentiment that is being echoed in the US under Barrack Obama’s administration.

HP recalls laptop batteries

Once again lithium-ion batteries are the subject of a safety recall.  Hewlett-Packard has recalled batteries used in some of its laptops, as they pose a fire hazard. The recall covers about 70,000 batteries. The recall follows two reports of batteries that overheated and ruptured, resulting in fire that caused minor property damage, the US Consumer products safety commission said. The batteries were made in China, but the name of the manufacturer was not disclosed.

Toshiba sues Imation

Toshiba has filed suit against Imation and several manufacturers and distributors of  recordable DVD media for the alleged infringement of its patents. Toshiba licenses patents essential for meeting DVD format specifications. Toshiba said the companies named in the complaint do not have license agreements covering recordable DVD media. The infringing recordable DVD media is sold in the U.S. under the Imation and Memorex brand names, Toshiba said.

Google says traffic routing error caused outage

The outage that took Google offline for scores of users on Thursday was caused by a traffic routing error, the company now says. The outage affected users across the United States and in numerous other countries. The vast majority of Google services became unavailable, including Gmail, YouTube, Google News, and even the google.com home page. Google said that the problem resulted from misdirected traffic: too many users were being routed through the same location in Asia.  Google has officially apologized for the incident, calling it an “embarrassing glitch” and promising its engineers are taking measures to prevent a repeat performance.

And those are the top stories from the IDG Global IT News Update, brought to you by the IDG News Service. I’m Elizabeth Heichler in Boston. Join us again later for more news from the world of technology.

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