It all started when AMD had the Athlon 64 put ahead of everything Intel had available and they were making tons of money off its sales.
tl;dr, from Anandtech’s summary:
- Intel rewarded OEMs to not use AMD’s processors through various means, such as volume discounts, withholding advertising & R&D money, and threatening OEMs with a low-priority during CPU shortages.
- Intel reworked their compiler to put AMD CPUs at a disadvantage. For a time Intel’s compiler would not enable SSE/SSE2 codepaths on non-Intel CPUs, our assumption is that this is the specific complaint. To our knowledge this has been resolved for quite some time now (as of late 2010).
- Intel paid/coerced software and hardware vendors to not support or to limit their support for AMD CPUs. This includes having vendors label their wares as Intel compatible, but not AMD compatible.
- False advertising. This includes hiding the compiler changes from developers, misrepresenting benchmark results (such as BAPCo Sysmark) that changed due to those compiler changes, and general misrepresentation of benchmarks as being “real world” when they are not.
- Intel eliminated the future threat of NVIDIA’s chipset business by refusing to license the latest version of the DMI bus (the bus that connects the Northbridge to the Southbridge) and the QPI bus (the bus that connects Nehalem processors to the X58 Northbridge) to NVIDIA, which prevents them from offering a chipset for Nehalem-generation CPUs.
- Intel “created several interoperability problems” with discrete CPUs, specifically to attack GPGPU functionality. We’re actually not sure what this means, it may be a complaint based on the fact that Lynnfield only offers single PCIe x16 connection coming from the CPU, which wouldn’t be enough to fully feed two high-end GPUs.
- Intel has attempted to harm GPGPU functionality by developing Larrabee. This includes lying about the state of Larrabee hardware and software, and making disparaging remarks about non-Intel development tools.
- In bundling CPUs with IGP chipsets, Intel is selling them at below-cost to drive out competition. Given Intel’s margins, we find this one questionable. Below-cost would have to be extremely cheap.
- Intel priced Atom CPUs higher if they were not used with an Intel IGP chipset.
- All of this has enhanced Intel’s CPU monopoly.
The rest is history. AMD slowly lost money, stopped being able to make chips that live up to the Athlon 64, etc. The snowball kept rolling until bribery wasn’t even necessary anymore, they pretty much just own the market now. Any fine would be a drop in the bucket compared to how much they can make by charging whatever they want.
But guess what? AMD hired the original creator of the Athlon 64 and put him in charge of Zen back in 2012.