EU reduces Intel antitrust fine to 376 mn euros

22 Sep 2023 06:46pm
Image for illustrative purposes only. - Facebook
Image for illustrative purposes only. - Facebook

BRUSSELS - The European Commission slapped a reduced fine of 376 million euros ($400 million) against US chipmaker Intel Friday for abusing its dominance in the computer chip market, after an EU court annulled a bigger penalty.

The European Union's antitrust enforcer said Intel had "engaged in a series of anticompetitive practices aimed at excluding competitors from the relevant market", it added.

The commission said it was restoring the fine partially "for a previously established abuse of dominant position in the market for computer chips called x86 central processing units".

An EU court in Luxembourg last year annulled the fine of 1.06 billion euros handed down in 2009, after it found that Brussels failed to adequately prove anti-competitive practices.

The EU's case was based on alleged market abuse between 2002 and 2007, but its origins go as far back as 2000 when complaints against Intel were first lodged at the commission.

The commission slapped the then-record fine on Intel after saying the company had offered clients price rebates to use its own computer chips in preference to rival AMD.

Intel at the time dominated the market for the x86 CPUs with a 70-percent share during the more than five years it was accused of breaking EU antitrust rules.

"Intel paid its customers to limit, delay or cancel the sale of products containing computer chips of its main rival. This is illegal under our competition rules," the EU's competition commissioner, Didier Reynders, said Friday.

"Our decision shows the commission's commitment to ensure that very serious antitrust breaches do not go unsanctioned," Reynders said.

The EU has hit tech titans with a series of fines, triggering a wave of legal challenges in the past few years.

Brussels doled out more than eight billion euros in fines to Google alone for abusing its dominant market position between 2017 and 2019, but the penalties are the subject of appeals in EU courts. - AFP