Intel goes to court to fight massive EU €1.06bn fine

3 Jul 2012

Describing the EU decision to fine it €1.06bn in 2009 as being based on a simplistic and error-ridden analysis of how the computer industry actually works, chip giant Intel went to court today to appeal the decision.

Intel contends that the European Commission failed to provide sufficient evidence to uphold its judgment in 2009, which came after an eight-year investigation.

The European Commission fined Intel for allegedly harming competitors and breaching antitrust laws by giving rebates to computer manufacturers between 2002 and 2005 if they bought at least 95pc of their chips to make PCs.

Manufacturers alleged to have accepted the scheme include Acer, Dell, HP, Lenovo and NEC.

Intel is also alleged to have also provide rebates to electronics retailer Media Markt if it only sold Intel-based PCs.

In its appeal, Intel points to errors in the EU decision, including not taking on board evidence from a witness regarding its position on competition with AMD, not seeking documents from AMD that might have cleared Intel of the charges and for not giving Intel and extra hearing to defend itself.

The fine represented almost 5pc of Intel’s 2008 turnover and was the largest ever levied on a company.

Over the next few days a panel of five judges will hear arguments from Intel and the European Commission.

Intel is seeking to have the conviction either overturned or the fine reduced.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years