EU court sides with Intel in appeal of $1.2B antitrust fine
A European court announced Wednesday that it overturned a $1.2 billion fine on Intel, which the European Union had imposed on the semiconductor chip manufacturer in 2009 over alleged violations of antitrust laws.
The European Commission, the executive branch of the EU, accused Intel of abusing its position as a global leader for x86 computer microprocessors and excluding competitors from the market, stretching from October 2002 to December 2007.
The EU alleged that Intel granted rebates to four equipment manufacturers, including Dell and Lenovo, which were conditional on the companies purchasing microprocessors from Intel.
But the General Court of the European Union found the EU’s claims of anticompetitive behavior from Intel “incomplete,” according to a press release.
“The 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,” the court said in the release.
In 2014, following the EU’s fine, the General Court dismissed action brought by Intel to contest the anticompetitive claims. But the EU’s Court of Justice heard an appeal on the matter and referred the case back to the General Court.
Intel’s general counsel, Steve Rodgers, said he welcomed the ruling because the company “always believed that our actions regarding rebates were lawful and did not harm competition.”
“The semiconductor industry has never been more competitive than it is today and we look forward to continuing to invest and grow in Europe,” he said in a statement to The Hill.
The Hill has reached out to the European Commission for comment.