EU Court Chucks $1.2B Antitrust Fine Against Intel

Credit Magdalena Petrova

Credit Magdalena Petrova

United States tech giant Intel has won a reprieve in its fight against a €1.06bn antitrust fine, with the European Court of Justice (ECJ) announcing a lower court will re-examine the case following Intel's appeal. It was superseded by the $2.7 billion antitrust fine the European regulatory body imposed on Google in June.

Intel declined to immediately comment, saying it needed to study the ruling first. Intel then brought a further appeal to the European Court of Justice (ECJ). Google has said it is considering an appeal.

Now, the ruling from the Court Justice of the European Union (ECJ) will see the case sent back to a lower court, with the ECJ claiming the original court had not properly considered the "efficient competitor test", a technical assessment of how Intel's activity impacted on a rival's ability to compete against it. This is significant because it might signal a new willingness of the European Court of Justice to question the European Commission's decisions and require an independent analysis of the impact on markets of alleged anticompetitive behavior.

Today's ECJ ruling could mean dominant companies feel they have more flexibility in offering rebates to high-volume buyers, suggested Komninos - adding that that could ultimately lead to cheaper priced products for consumers.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise Fiscal Q3 Beats Views Amid Restructuring
It improved, as 11 investors sold ePlus Inc. shares while 51 reduced holdings. 52 funds opened positions while 104 raised stakes. Company insiders own 0.87% of the company's stock. "Aruba continues to take share from competitors like Cisco".

In the Intel case, the commission penalized the company over rebates it granted to four major computer manufacturers - Dell Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co., NEC Corp. of Japan and Lenovo Group - for using its microchips between 2002 and 2007.

The EU said that Intel gave rebates to some computer manufacturers for buying all or nearly all their x86 computer processing units and paid them to stop or delay the launch of computers based on AMD chips. It had also, the Commission found, paid German retailer Media-Saturn for selling exclusively x86 computers with Intel processors. "While this case concerns events that happened more than a decade ago, we have always believed that our actions were lawful and did not harm competition".

This morning the court kept the appeal against the fine alive by sending it back to the General Court.

Regulators have generally frowned upon rebates, especially those offered by dominant companies, on the theory they are anti-competitive in nature.

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