Intel’s $1.2bn EU antitrust fine cancelled by court 12 years after Intel didn’t pay up

Intel Corporation no longer has to pay a €1.06bn ($1.2bn, £890m) fine imposed by the European Commission (EC) in 2009 for abusing its dominance of the chip market.

On Wednesday, the General Court of the European Union annulled the EC antitrust penalty [PDF] after previously upholding it in 2014 [PDF].

After rival AMD complained in 2000 and again in 2003 that Intel was engaging in anti-competitive conduct by offering its hardware partners rebates for using Intel’s x86 chips, an EC antitrust investigation that got underway in 2004 and concluded in 2009 with a €1.06 billion penalty against Chipzilla.

The EC at the time found Intel’s conduct between October 2002 and December 2007 to be anti-competitive.

“The evidence gathered by the Commission led to the conclusion that Intel’s conditional rebates and payments induced the loyalty of key OEMs and of a major retailer, the effects of which were complementary in that they significantly diminished competitors’ ability to compete on the merits of their x86 CPUs,” the EC said in its 2009 decision. “Intel’s anti-competitive conduct thereby resulted in a reduction of consumer choice and in lower incentives to innovate.”

[…]

The ruling suggests that EU trustbusters won’t be able to constrain corporate behavior if alleged misconduct fails to fit within the limited definition of competitive abuse under EU law (Article 102 TFEU). According to the Associated Press, EC VP Margrethe Vestager said at a press briefing in Brussels that the EC needs more time to consider what comes next.

[…]

Source: Intel’s $1.2bn EU antitrust fine cancelled by court • The Register

Which begs the question – why is China leading the way in anti-competitive lawmaking?

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