LONDON (AP) – Chipmaker Intel scored a decisive legal victory on Wednesday in a long-running battle against European Union (EU) competition watchdogs after a court reversed itself and threw out a billion-euro anti-trust fine issued more than a decade ago.
The EU’s General Court annulled the EUR1.06 billion fine that competition regulators issued Intel in 2009 for allegedly using illegal sales tactics to shut out smaller rival AMD.
It was the General Court’s second decision on the case, after the bloc’s top court ordered it to take another look at its earlier decision.
The European Commission, the 27-nation bloc’s top antitrust enforcers, had fined Intel for allegedly abusing its dominant position in the global market for x86 microprocessors with a strategy to exclude rivals by using rebates.
The General Court upheld the penalty in 2014 but three years later the EU’s Court of Justice ruled that the fine could be sent back for further legal review, citing a legal error.
This time around, the General Court found that “the analysis carried out by the Commission is incomplete” and doesn’t legally establish that rebates Intel was giving to customers had anti-competitive effects, according to a summary of the ruling.