BNR – The European Commission has fined Intel nearly €376.36 million for infringing antitrust regulations within the computer chips market.
This decision revolves around Intel’s actions in relation to its dominant market standing in x86 central processing units (CPUs).
Evidently, the EU deemed those practices to have unfairly excluded competitors from the relevant market.
Notably, this fine follows an initial penalty of €1.06 billion imposed by the EU in 2009. Back then, the European Commission concluded that Intel had engaged in two specific illicit practices.
The first involved providing concealed or partial rebates to computer manufacturers on the condition that they procured the majority of their x86 CPUs exclusively from Intel (conditional rebates).
The second involved Intel paying manufacturers to delay, limit, or cancel the launch of products containing x86 CPUs from rivals.
Antitrust Battle Resurfaces
In a significant development in 2022, the European Court of Justice overturned the 2009 Commission decision concerning Intel’s rebate practices.
However, the court reaffirmed that Intel’s naked restriction practices did constitute a violation of EU rules.
Crucially, the court’s judgment annulled the €1.06 billion fine in its entirety in 2022 due to the impossibility of pinpointing specifics with the naked restrictions.
In response, the EU said Intel had not contested the 2022 ruling that affirmed the illegality of these restrictions.
Thereby, it enabled the EU to levy a reduced fine of €376.36 million based on these particular breaches.
Intel Breached EU Competition Rules
“Intel paid its customers to limit, delay or cancel the sale of products containing computer chips of its main rival,” said Didier Reynders, the Commissioner responsible for EU competition policy. “This is illegal under our competition rules.”
Reynders stressed that the EC decision showcases its commitment to ensuring antitrust violations do not go unpunished.
As of now, Intel has not issued an immediate response to requests for comment on this matter.