Intel has lost its appeal against a €1.06 billion anti-trust fine in Europe

A top EU court rejected Thursday an appeal by US computer chip giant Intel against the bloc’s biggest ever single company fine of €1.06 billion for abusing its dominant market position. The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, fined Intel in 2009 after it said the company had offered clients price rebates to use its x86 computer chips in preference to rival AMD. Intel had a 70 percent market share for the X86 chips used by most major makers of PCs such as Dell, Lenovo, HP and NEC who all got price rebates. In its ruling, the General Court, which sits below the European Court of Justice, said “Intel’s action against the Commission’s decision is dismissed in its entirety.”

Intel lost its appeal against a €1.06 billion (US$1.44 billion) antitrust fine on Thursday when the General Court of the European Union upheld a 2009 ruling by the European Commission that the company had abused its dominant market position. The Commission had found that Intel had abused its dominant position by offering rebates to customers on the condition they buy all their x86 CPUs from the company. The General Court dismissed in its entirety Intel’s appeal and ordered the chip giant to implement conditions imposed by the Commission in its original ruling to rectify the market situation. According to the Commission, with 70 percent or more of the worldwide market, Intel was an “unavoidable supplier” of CPUs, an essential component of any computer. Prior to 2000 there were several manufacturers of x86 CPUs. However between 2002 and 2007 when the market abuse took place, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) was the only serious competitor. Intel granted rebates to computer manufacturers Dell, Lenovo, Hewlett-Packard and NEC, and paid reseller Media-Saturn to sell only computers containing Intel’s x86 CPUs, the Commission had found.

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