Intel hit with €376m EU fine in long-running antitrust dispute

22 Sep 2023

Image: © Tada Images/

The chipmaker was originally fined €1bn for its anti-competitive practices, but this fine was annuled last year by the EU’s General Court.

Intel has been fined €376.36m by the European Commission for abusing its dominant market position in the computer chips sector between 2002 and 2006.

The Commission reimposed a fine on Intel in relation to a verdict it made against Intel in 2009 for engaging in anti-competitive practices such as providing rebates to computer manufacturers, to give itself an unfair advantage over its main rival AMD.

The fine was originally €1bn, but Intel managed to win an appeal against this massive antitrust fine last year in the General Court, the second highest court in the EU. The Commission said that in this appeal verdict, the General Court “partially annulled” the 2009 decision around Intel’s conditional rebates practice.

This was not the first time the General Court had ruled on the Intel antitrust case. In 2014, the same court had upheld the European Commission’s fine – only to be asked to review Intel’s appeal by the EU Court of Justice in 2017.

The 2022 ruling partially annulled the €1bn fine, but the General Court still confirmed that Intel had abused its dominant market position under EU competition rules, through the use of “naked restrictions” (that is, by paying computer manufacturers to halt or delay competitors’ products and to limit sales channels available to these products). The Commission said the original €1bn fine was annulled because the court “could not establish the amount of the fine relating only to the naked restrictions”.

As a result, the European Commission has issued this new fine for Intel’s restrictions practices during 2002 and 2006. These naked restrictions include payments Intel made to three computer manufacturers – HP, Acer and Lenovo – to limit the launch of specific products containing AMD CPUs.

EU Commissioner for competition policy Didier Reynders said the fine was reimposed because Intel abused its dominant position in a way that is “illegal under our competition rules”.

“Intel paid its customers to limit, delay or cancel the sale of products containing computer chips of its main rival,” Reynders said. “Our decision shows the Commission’s commitment to ensure that very serious antitrust breaches do not go unsanctioned.”

The European Commission said it also has a pending appeal with the Court of Justice regarding the General Court’s 2022 judgement.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic