Intel fails to overturn €1.06 billion fine


Intel will have to pay a 1.06 billion fine after it failed to overturn a five-year-old ruling which concluded it had been anti-competitive.

In 2009, European anti-trust regulators ruled Intel had tried to squeeze its rival AMD out of the market by offering rebates to prominent OEMs and vendors.

Dell, HP and Lenovo as well as German firm Media-Saturn-Holding were given rebates in exhange for exclusively stocking Intel products.

Intel's anti-competitive conduct resulted in a reduction of consumer choice and in lower incentives to innovate.

The General Court based in Luxembourg upheld regulator's findings, claiming Intel's behaviour was anti-competitive and the chipmaker had tried to conceal this from authorities.

"[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," it was noted in the General Court judgment.

"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."

Intel had disputed the severity of the fine, but the General Court explained that it was proportional to the amount of turnover the firm had made during the period of infringement. The billion euro fine was the equivalent of 5 per cent turnover during the period in question and was deemed proportional.

Intel can challenge the ruling at the Court of Justice of the European Union but only on points of law.

Khidr Suleman is the Technical Editor at IT Pro, a role he has fulfilled since March 2012. He is responsible for the reviews section on the site  - so get in touch if you have a product you think might be of interest to the business world. He also covers the hardware and operating systems beats. Prior to joining IT Pro, Khidr worked as a reporter at Incisive Media. He studied law at the University of Reading and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism and Online Writing at PMA Training.