Intel, the computer chipmaker, is in line for one of the largest ever fines for anti-competitive behaviour handed out by the authorities in Europe.

The European Commission is expected to approve the penalty on Wednesday.

It is likely to be similar to the 497m euros ($650m, £480m) fine levied on Microsoft in 2004 for abusing its dominant market position. Some observers say the fine could be as high a one billion euros.

The Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, is also set to impose a "cease and desist" order requiring Intel to change its business practices.