In a decisive move, the European Commission (EC) has imposed a hefty fine of 376 million Euros ($400 million) on Intel for engaging in anti-competitive practices that stifled market competition nearly two decades ago. This ruling comes in the wake of the General Court, Europe’s second-highest court based in Luxembourg, overturning an initial record fine of 1.06 billion euros in 2009, just last year. Intel’s alleged misconduct pertains to the period between November 2002 and December 2006, during which the company purportedly obstructed CPU manufacturer Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) from effectively participating in the market.
According to the European Commission, Intel resorted to financial inducements with major players such as Hewlett Packard, Acer, and Lenovo to impede or postpone the introduction of rival products. In a statement, the European Commission emphasized, “The General Court confirmed that Intel’s naked restrictions amounted to an abuse of dominant market position under EU competition rules.”
Responding to the EC’s decision and the substantial fine, Intel released a statement, stating, “We are analyzing the decision and the amount of the fine to determine the possible grounds and prospects of success of an appeal to the European Courts.” This indicates a potential legal challenge from Intel in response to the ruling.
Currently, Intel is awaiting approval from the Commission for an allocation of nearly 10 billion euros in German state subsidies aimed at establishing a chip manufacturing facility in Germany. It remains a critical juncture for Intel, as this project holds significant implications for the company’s strategic expansion in the European market.
Furthermore, the Commission has lodged an appeal against other aspects of the General Court’s prior ruling, specifically pertaining to conditional rebates extended by Intel. This appeal is slated for adjudication at the European Court of Justice, the highest legal authority within the European Union.
Intel’s historical anti-competitive maneuvers, now subject to EC scrutiny, have resurfaced to confront the corporation. The Commission’s swift and unequivocal action underscores its commitment to preventing a recurrence of such practices in the future, fostering an environment of fair and open competition in the European market.