Reports suggest that the European Commission is set to go forward with an appeal against a court decision from early 2022. The appeal was to drop a fine of $1.2 billion imposed in opposition to Intel for anti-competitive actions. This particular case goes way back many years and pertains to deals between Intel and certain system vendors. This was in order to favour the chips of Intel Inc. over those from its competitors like AMD.
One of the spokespeople of the European Commission confirmed to concerned authorities about its decision to file an appeal against the court decision. On January 26, the judgement of the General Court ruled that the chipmaker was not required anymore to pay the fine. The fine of about $1.15 billion was imposed by the European Commission for anti-competitive behaviour.
The EC’s decision of finding Intel guilty and charging a fine goes way back to 2009. The chipmaker was found guilty of illegal actions involving rebates on its technology awarded to PC manufacturers such as Dell and Lenovo. This was for them to choose its chips over its rivals’. The court only got knowledge of this taking place in 2002 and 2007. However, AMD had complained of Intel’s anti-competitive behaviour back in 2000 and 2003. The penalty came across as the largest of its type by the EC. Since its appeal in 2012, Intel has been attempting to get the ruling overturned.
The declaration of January 22 judgement:
“In its analysis of whether the rebates at issue were capable of restricting competition, the General Court wrongly failed to take into consideration Intel’s line of argument seeking to expose alleged errors committed by the Commission in the AEC test,”
Another appeal from 2014, requesting to annul or reduce the fine figure imposed, was rejected by the General Court. Afterwards, the chipmaker appealed to the European Court of Justice, which sent the case back to the General Court in 2017. Intel argued that the EC had not adequately applied tests while deciding if the rebates had actually restricted competition.
The AEC (as-efficient competitor test) is meant to show that harm has occurred if a competitor as powerful as the dominant company cannot match its offering.
The peak of the subsequent appeal was the January appeal from this year to annul the penalty imposed by the EC. Clearly, Intel welcomed the call, claiming that its conduct in case of rebates was lawful to the best of its knowledge. Post this ruling, the European Commission stated that it required to consider the next step. Additionally, it has decided to appeal currently as the case goes further on. Intel Inc. is yet to acknowledge any requests made for a comment on the situation.