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European Union court orders re-examination of €1.06B Intel fine

European Union court orders re-examination of €1.06B Intel fine”

Over the last few years, Intel has had a massive €1.06 billion fine looming over its head after the European Commission ruled that the company had violated antitrust laws.

On remand, the General Court must consider Intel's argument about whether the rebates were capable of restricting competition.

Intel is among the few companies to have continued a battle against a European Commission fine all the way to the top EU court.

In 2014 the EU's General Court had upheld the earlier antitrust decision - but, according to Bloomberg, the ECJ said the judges failed to properly analyze the economic aspects of the case.

The penalty - the biggest ever imposed by the European Union competition commission at the time - was handed out in 2009 after an investigation concluded Intel blocked rivals from the chip market and abused its dominant position. The company allegedly gave rebates to computer manufacturers on condition that they bought all, or nearly all, their CPUs from Intel, making it hard for rivals to compete on price.

The EU court has brought the European Commission one step closer to its first bloody nose on anti-trust fines.

This isn't just good news for Intel, as the ECJ's ruling could force the Commission to re-examine its tough line approach in other antitrust cases, such as those against Qualcomm and Google.

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Because Intel held at least 70 percent of the market share, the commission found that it qualified as having a dominant market position.

Google's case has more similarities than Apple's, but U.S. tech multinationals have long complained that fines are politically motivated, and will be cheered by a decision in Intel's favour.

The ruling could have implications for Alphabet's (GOOGL) Google and Apple Inc.

Today's ECJ ruling could mean dominant companies feel they have more flexibility in offering rebates to high-volume buyers, suggested Komninos - adding that that could ultimately lead to cheaper priced products for consumers. The EU also said Intel made payments to electronics retailer Media Saturn Holding on the condition that it only sold computers containing Intel's microprocessors.

The US tech giant, which has its European manufacturing headquarters in Leixlip, Co Kildare, appealed the fine to the General Court in Luxembourg.

"Companies will be more confident when they go to the Commission and more corporations will have the appetite to take the Commission to court on effects-based arguments", he said.



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