EU court ruled out Intel’s €1.06B penalty appeal

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Intel on Thursday lost an appeal made against the record €1.06 billion (£852 million) European union fine levied five years ago in 2009 over anti-competitive practices.

The European Commission had fined Intel in 2009 when it was found that the chipmaker tried to block rival Advanced Micro Devices’ chips from the market by offering rebates to major PC makers including Dell, Hewlett-Packard Co, NEC and Lenovo for buying computer chips from Intel between 2002 and 2007. The Commission also accused the chip giant of paying German retail chain Media Saturn Holding to stock only computers with Intel chips inside.

The firm however appealed against the decision claiming that the fine was the highest ever single antitrust penalty levied by Brussels authorities on a single company.

Judges at the Luxembourg-based General Court, Europe’s second-highest on Thursday rejected Intel’s plea saying that they are in favour of the Commission’s decision.

“The Commission demonstrated to the requisite legal standard that Intel attempted to conceal the anti-competitive nature of its practices and implemented a long term comprehensive strategy to foreclose AMD from the strategically most important sales channels,” the court said.

“The General Court considers that none of the arguments raised by Intel supports the conclusion that the fine imposed is disproportionate. On the contrary, it must be considered that that fine is appropriate in the light of the facts of the case,” the judges said.

Disappointed by the court’s decision, Intel spokesman, Sophie Jacobs, said “We are very disappointed about the decision. It’s a complex case which is reflected in the decision. We will begin evaluating the decision.”