Intel and EUToday 12th June 2014, Chip Giant Intel lost its €1.06 billion ($1.44 billion) antitrust fine when the General Court of the European Union upheld a 2009 ruling by the European Commission that the company had abused its dominant market position and blocked its main rival AMD – Advanced Micro Devices.

Intel’s comment was that it was ‘very disappointed’.  I would that is an understatement!

It now only has one recourse on the decision, and that is to appeal it on points of law.

The story was that the European Commission found in 2009 that between 2002 and 2007, Intel gave rebates to PC makers Dell, Hewlett-Packard Co, Japan's NEC and Lenovo to favour its chips over those of AMD.

The Commission learned that Intel had 70% of the entire world market.  In 2000 and earlier, there were seven manufacturers of x86 CPUs.  From 2002, it discovered that Intel began to abuse their market position and set up circumstances where they were the ‘only’ supplier.

In order to achieve that position, they gave rebates as mentioned above and also paid German retail chain Media Saturn Holding to stock only computers with its chips.

Today’s ruling says that the Commission had been right to impose its fine.

The Court said "The Commission demonstrated to the requisite legal standard that Intel attempted to conceal the anti-competitive nature of its practices and implemented a long term comprehensive strategy to foreclose AMD from the strategically most important sales channels."

"The General Court considers that none of the arguments raised by Intel supports the conclusion that the fine imposed is disproportionate. On the contrary, it must be considered that that fine is appropriate in the light of the facts of the case," the judges said.

Intel replied "This is a complex case and the decision reflects that. We have begun the process of evaluating the court's judgment."

They have two months in which to challenge the court’s decision by filing an appeal with the Court of Justice of the European Union.





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