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Intel loses appeal to overturn €1.06bn European antitrust fine

Five-year-old ruling upheld as firm to pay largest fine imposed by EU authorities
Thu Jun 12 2014, 11:49
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INTEL HAS LOST ITS APPEAL to overturn a €1.06bn antitrust fine in Europe, which was imposed on the firm back in 2009 for anticompetitive practices in the PC chip market.

The European General Court upheld the whopping fine - the largest ever imposed by the European authorities in Brussels on a single company - on Thursday, dismissing Intel's appeal to overturn the five-year-old ruling.

The court said it "considers that none of the arguments raised by Intel supports the conclusion that the fine imposed is disproportionate".

The European Commission imposed the €1.06bn fine in 2009, after it found the chipmaker had abused its dominance in the processor market by offering rebates to PC makers that used its chips instead of those made by its competitors.

According to the ruling, Intel offered rebates to firms including Dell, HP and Lenovo, along with German retail chain Media Saturn Holding, in order to squeeze rival AMD out of the market.

The judgment said, "[Intel's] conditional rebates and payments induced the loyalty of the key OEMs and of MSH. The effects of these practices were complementary, in that they significantly diminished competitors' ability to compete on the merits of their x86 CPUs. Intel's anti-competitive conduct thereby resulted in a reduction of consumer choice and in lower incentives to innovate.

"The Court finds that that evidence demonstrates to the requisite legal standard that the applicant attempted to conceal the anticompetitive nature of its conduct, at least as regards its relationships with Dell, HP, Lenovo and MSH," it concluded.

In a statement, Intel unsurprisingly said that it was disappointed with today's ruling. A spokesperson for the company said, "We are very disappointed about the decision. It's a complex case which is reflected in the decision. We will begin evaluating the decision."

Intel still can appeal the case to Europe's highest court, the European Court of Justice. µ


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