Intel loses court challenge to prevent €1.06bn fine from EU

12 Jun 2014

Intel has lost its court battle over a €1.06bn fine handed down to the chip giant five years ago over allegations it paid off companies to use its microchips instead of those of its biggest rival, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD).

The European Commission (EC), which handed down the decision, referenced Intel’s direct involvement and issuing of rebates to some of the world’s largest desktop PC manufacturers, including HP, NEC, Dell and Lenovo, according to Reuters.

After first being presented to the European courts back in 2009, the judges based in Luxembourg ruled there were obvious infringements of competition laws within Europe and spoke of their leniency in the sentence imposed on the company – which equates to 4.15pc of Intel’s 2008 turnover – as the maximum fine could be as high as 10pc.

“The General Court considers that none of the arguments raised by Intel supports the conclusion that the fine imposed is disproportionate,” said the judges responsible for the verdict. “On the contrary, it must be considered that that fine is appropriate in the light of the facts of the case.”

Speaking of the result, the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) director-general Monique Goyens welcomed the decision for what they perceived to be an abuse of power from a large corporation.

“When large companies abuse their dominance of the market, it causes direct harm to consumers. The court’s ruling issued a strong reminder that such behaviour is illegal and unacceptable,” Goyens said.

Intel’s response to the decision has been relatively short, with its spokesperson Sophie Jacobs stating, “We are very disappointed about the decision. It’s a complex case which is reflected in the decision. We will begin evaluating the decision.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic