EU fines Intel €376.36 million for breaching antitrust rules in computer chip market


According to the EU, Intel engaged in anticompetitive practices that excluded competitors from the market in breach of antitrust rules.

The European Commission has just reimposed a fine of about €376.36 million on Intel for breaching antitrust rules in the computer chips market.

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The fine relates to Intel’s practices regarding its dominant market position in x86 central processing units (CPUs), which the EU says, excluded competitors from the relevant market.

A fine of €1.06 billion was initially imposed by the EU in 2009 after the body ruled that Intel had engaged in two specific illegal practices.

The EU says they were giving whole or partially hidden rebates to computer manufacturers provided they purchased the majority of their x86 CPUs from Intel (conditional rebates) and paying manufacturers to halt the release of products containing x86 CPUs from rival companies (naked restrictions).

In 2022, the European Court of Justice overruled the 2009 Commission decision on Intel’s rebates practice.

However, the court reaffirmed that Intel’s naked restrictions practices constituted an abuse of dominant market position under EU rules.

The court annulled the €1.06 billion fine in its entirety in 2022 on the basis that it could not establish the extent of the fine relating only to the naked restrictions.

The EU said in a statement that Intel had not appealed the part of the 2022 ruling that confirmed the unlawfulness of these restrictions, enabling it to levy a reduced fine of €376.36 million on the basis of those specific breaches.

“Intel paid its customers to limit, delay or cancel the sale of products containing computer chips of its main rival. This is illegal under our competition rules,” Didier Reynders, the Commissioner responsible for EU competition policy, said in a statement.

“Our decision shows the Commission’s commitment to ensure that very serious antitrust breaches do not go unsanctioned,” he added.

Intel did not respond immediately to an email requesting comment for this story.



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2023-09-22 13:31:34

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