Intel loses appeal against €1.06 billion European antitrust fine

An EU Court has upheld the European Commission's antitrust judgement against Intel, which has two months to lodge a final appeal

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.

Intel now has two months in which to challenge the court's decision on points of law by filing an appeal with the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Follow Jennifer on Twitter at @BrusselsGeek or email tips and comments to jennifer_baker@idg.com.

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Jennifer Baker

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