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  • Writer's pictureConnie Chan

EU fines Intel $400m for antitrust violations.

EU fines Intel $400m for antitrust violations.
EU fines Intel $400m for antitrust violations.

The European Union has recently imposed a fine of €376.36 million (approximately $400 million) on Intel, a computer processing unit (CPU) maker, for violating EU antitrust laws. This case is a continuation of a decade-long legal battle between the two parties. In 2009, the European Commission attempted to fine Intel over €1 billion for abusing its market power. The Commission found that Intel broke EU laws in two ways: by illegally using conditional rebates and by paying PC makers to delay or halt the release of products with AMD chips in them. Intel fought these charges in court for many years and was able to overturn the conditional rebate part of the decision in 2017. However, the court found that the naked restriction charges were applied lawfully. As a result, the EU General Court annulled the €1 billion fine and left it to the EU Commission to impose a new fine based on the naked restrictions alone. Finally, after six years, the Commission has come up with a new figure of €376.36 million.

EU fines Intel $400m for antitrust violations. How Did Intel Break EU Antitrust Laws?

Intel was found to have violated antitrust laws by paying HP, Acer, and Lenovo to delay the launch of their AMD-based products. Additionally, Intel paid HP to only sell x86 AMD business desktops to small and medium-sized companies, and to sell them only through direct distribution. These actions were found to have significantly harmed competition in the CPU industry, as they removed reasonable choices from the market and AMD was Intel's only real competitor. As a result, Intel was fined based on these specific violations. EU fines Intel $400m for antitrust violations.

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Is the Legal Battle Between the EU and Intel Over?

The legal dispute between the EU and Intel is ongoing. The EU is appealing the General Court's decision to cancel the conditional rebate charges, while Intel is fighting the Commission for a different reason. In 2021, a court decision ruled that the EU Commission must pay default interest on reimbursed fines from annulled antitrust cases. Intel filed a claim last year to secure €593 million in interest from the EU after the €1 billion fine was annulled. The EU refused to pay the default interest on the reimbursed fine, and Intel is fighting in court to receive it. The EU Court of Justice's final decision on the Commission's appeals is awaited before the case can proceed. If the Commission wins its appeal, much of the original fine will likely be reinstated, and it won't owe Intel any interest. If it loses, the chip-maker will likely be owed hundreds of millions of dollars in interest.

Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.


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