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Intel loses EU court challenge to record €1.06 billion antitrust fine

LiveMint logoLiveMint 12-06-2014 Aoife White

Brussels: Intel Corp. lost its European Union (EU) court challenge to a record €1.06 billion antitrust fine for unfairly squeezing out rivals.

The EU’s General Court rejected in its entirety Intel’s arguments seeking to overturn the penalty for giving rebates to computer makers that favoured its chips over those of its main competitor Advanced Micro Devices Inc.

“None of the arguments raised by Intel supports the conclusion that the fine imposed is disproportionate,” the court said. “The size of the penalty is at the lower end of the scale for possible fines,” it said. Intel’s criticism that regulators failed to record notes of a meeting with an executive from Dell Inc would not be such as to result in the court’s altering the amount of the fine, it said.

Intel didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

The chip maker argued at a court hearing two years ago that EU regulators ignored exonerating evidence to build an extreme case. The European Commission was also faulted by the EU’s ombudsman for failing to take notes of the meeting with Dell. That report wasn’t binding on the commission, which disagreed on the need for formal minutes.

The Intel fine was more than double a €497 million penalty against Microsoft Corp. in 2004. It represented about 4% of Intel’s 2008 sales of $37.6 billion, and was below the maximum penalty of 10% of annual sales.

The General Court’s decisions can be appealed to the EU’s Court of Justice, the bloc’s highest tribunal. Bloomberg

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