Intel Pentium 4 Class Action lawsuit settlement
Not sure if this was already posted, search didn't turn up anything. I remember using some P4's back in the day, they were pretty sweet as far as I remember, though it was around 10 years old and didn't have anything to compare them to.
The reason for the payment is a class action that alleges Intel knew the Pentium 4 was a dog, worried AMD would eat its lunch, and therefore cooked up new benchmarks to offer a rosier view of the CPU's capabilities. Doing so is alleged to have contravened Californian competition law. HP is alleged to have helped things along by agreeing with Intel's version of events.
Read responses in overclock.net