THE EUROPEAN COURT OF JUSTICE (ECJ) is expected to rule on Intel's appeal against the €1.06bn (around £815m) antitrust fine levied on the firm seven years ago.
The European Commission (EC) slapped Intel with the fine in 2009 after ruling that the company had abused its dominance in the processor market by offering rebates to PC makers that used its chips instead of those made by competitors.
Intel offered rebates to firms including Dell, HP and Lenovo, along with German retail chain Media Saturn Holding, to squeeze rival AMD out of the market, according to the ruling.
"By undermining its competitors' ability to compete on the merits of their products, Intel's actions undermined competition and innovation," the EC said at the time.
Intel has long fought back against the ruling, arguing that told EU judges failed to analyse "all relevant circumstances" to see whether the rebates shut out rivals including AMD.
Reuters reported on Monday that the ECJ will deliver its ruling on Intel's appeal next year.
"I expect a judgment sometime next year," Marc van der Woude, vice-president at the General Court, told a competition conference attended by the news outlet.
While it's unclear which way the ruling likely will sway, Intel last year received a major boost after a top European judge said that the case should be reviewed.
Nils Wahl questioned whether there was substantial evidence that the firm's actions actually harmed competition.
"Intel's appeal against the imposition of a €1.06bn fine for abuse of its dominant position should be upheld. The case should be referred back to the General Court for a fresh review," Wahl said.
He explained that the General Court failed to establish that the rebates and payments offered by Intel were anti-competitive, or that certain deals between Intel and Lenovo and HP harmed consumers, as the firms were still allowed under their agreements with Intel to purchase significant quantities of x86 processors from AMD.
Wahl also doubted whether Intel's market position at the time was dominant enough to be abused. µ
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