Intel Scores Major Win as Court Scraps $1.2 Billion EU Antitrust Fine

EU penalised Intel in 2009 for trying to block rival AMD by giving rebates to Dell, HP, NEC, and Lenovo for buying most of their chips from Intel.

Intel Scores Major Win as Court Scraps $1.2 Billion EU Antitrust Fine

The European Commission penalised Intel in 2009 for trying to block rival Advanced Micro Devices

Highlights
  • The Commission said it would study the judgment
  • Regulators generally do not like rebates
  • The ruling can be appealed to the CJEU

Intel on Wednesday won its fight against a EUR-1.06-billion (roughly Rs. 8,900 crore) EU antitrust fine that the US chipmaker was handed 12 years ago for stifling a rival, in a major setback for EU antitrust regulators. The judgment by Europe's second-top court in support of Intel's arguments is likely to cheer Alphabet unit Google in its fight against hefty EU antitrust fines and Apple, Amazon, and Facebook, which are in the EU antitrust enforcer's crosshairs.

The European Commission penalised Intel in 2009 for trying to block rival Advanced Micro Devices by giving rebates to computer makers Dell, Hewlett-Packard, NEC, and Lenovo for buying most of their chips from Intel.

The Luxembourg-based General Court, Europe's second-highest, criticised the EU competition enforcer's analysis and annulled the fine.

"The (European) Commission's analysis is incomplete and does not make it possible to establish to the requisite legal standard that the rebates at issue were capable of having, or likely to have, anticompetitive effects," judges said.

The court annulled the entire article of the contested decision which imposed a fine of EUR 1.06 billion (roughly Rs. 8,900 crore) on Intel for the infringement.

The Commission said it would study the judgment and reflect on the possible next steps.

The same court had in 2014 upheld the Commission's 2009 decision but was subsequently told by the EU Court of Justice, Europe's highest, in 2017 to reexamine Intel's appeal.

Regulators generally do not like rebates, especially those offered by dominant companies, on concerns they may be anti-competitive. Companies, however, say regulators must prove rebates have anti-competitive effects before sanctioning them.

The ruling will complicate the regulator's task, said Assimakis Komninos, a partner at law firm White & Case.

"This is a huge victory for Intel. It sets the bar higher for the Commission in bringing dominance cases. It will have to do an effects-based analysis for each case. This will have an impact on all companies," he said.

The ruling can be appealed to the CJEU.

The case is T-286/09 P Intel Corporation v Commission.

© Thomson Reuters 2022


Looking to buy headphones? Listen to the experts on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.
Comments

For the latest tech news and reviews, follow Gadgets 360 on Twitter, Facebook, and Google News. For the latest videos on gadgets and tech, subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Further reading: Intel, AMD, EU
Pablo Picasso Heirs to Sell Digital Art Collection of Artist to Ride NFT Wave
YouTube Will Explore NFT Features for Video Creators, Says CEO Susan Wojcicki
Share on Facebook Tweet Snapchat Share Reddit Comment
 
 

Advertisement

Advertisement

© Copyright Red Pixels Ventures Limited 2022. All rights reserved.