Europe's Top Court Backs Intel's Appeal of Antitrust Fine
Europe's Top Court Backs Intel's Appeal of Antitrust Fine
EU court orders Intel antitrust fine to be re-examined
08 September, 2017, 00:44
Intel had also engaged in efforts to try to hide its infringing activities, the Commission found.
The company had allegedly done this by trying to force AMD out of the micro-processor market.
However, Intel appealed against the General Court's decision to the CJEU.
The decision, which was hotly anticipated, could have potential implications for Qualcomm, a similar case involving rebates and Google, which is expected to announce its appeal of the massive Euro 2.4 billion fine imposed on the company by the EU Commission this year.
In its statement issued at the time the Commission said that, as a result of Intel's rebates scheme, "the ability of rival manufacturers to compete and innovate was impaired" and that this "led to reduced choice for consumers".
An equally plausible interpretation of the decision is that rebuttals can exist if, and only if, the Commission relies on the AEC test when determining anti-competitive behaviour, Lianos adds. Google has said it is considering an appeal. In its Wednesday ruling, the ECJ determined that the EGC must now reexamine how much such rebates hindered competition from AMD. The General Court's failure to do so was an error in law, it said.
The Commission had originally claimed that Intel abused its dominant position on the worldwide market for so-called x86 Central Processing Units (CPUs) from October 2002 to December 2007.
While the commission argued the company's rebates were by their nature anticompetitive, it also carried out an in-depth analysis of the circumstances, proving the rebate scheme was capable of shutting out a rival.
Europe's top judges dealt a rare blow to European Unionantitrust regulators on Wednesday by sending their case against USA chipmaker Intel Corp back to court for an appeal. It said this exercise will involve "the examination of factual and economic evidence".
The judgment provides welcome clarity for dominant firms, applying an effects-based approach for all types of rebates and removing the formalistic exception that the European Commission and General Court applied to exclusivity rebates. That ruling was seen then as a rebuke to Intel and a sign to the community that no company is above the rulings of the court.
The ruling, on Wednesday (6 September), also indicated that giant tech firms could in future be more free to wield their market power in the form of rebates. In a rare blow for the regulators, the ramifications could set a president for similar cases against Qualcomm and Google.
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