Intel loses bid to sidestep $1.4 billion EU fine

The EU's second-highest court says it agrees with the European Commission in deciding that Intel acted unfairly against AMD.

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Anticompetition charges brought against Intel in the European Union five years ago aren't going away, and they could ultimately cost the company more than $1 billion.

The EU's second-highest court, the General Court of Luxembourg, on Thursday upheld the decision by the European Commission to fine Intel $1.44 billion for anticompetitive activities against AMD, saying the decision was both legal and based on the nature of the incident.

"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 General Court said on Thursday, according to Reuters, which obtained a copy of the 300-page ruling.

The issue dates back to 2009 when Intel and AMD were fighting hard in Europe over computer chip dominance. The European Union's competition watchdog, the European Commission, argued that Intel acted in an anticompetitive way by reducing its charges to PC makers, like Dell and HP, to get their business and stop AMD from growing its own business.

Intel has argued that it was not working outside the confines of the law and said to Reuters that "it's a complex case" that cannot be broken down so easily.

The European Commission has been actively watching the technology industry. The Commission has settled massive suits against Google and Microsoft, and continues to say that it will police the technology industry where necessary.

Now that Intel has lost in the second-highest court in the EU, the company has two options: it can petition the court's decision and try its luck at the EU's highest court or put an end to its battle. If Intel chooses the latter course, the company can either pay the full fine or attempt to reduce it with an out-of-court settlement with the Commission. It'll be up to the Commission, however, to accept that deal before Intel is off the hook for that massive fine.

CNET has contacted Intel for comment on the judgement. We will update this story when we have more information.

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About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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