Intel appeal against Europe's huge fine begins

After a hiatus which took exactly three years, Intel is now beginning to pursue its appeal against the huge fine imposed by the European Commission in 2009. The largest monetary penalty ever decided by the EU for anti-competitive behaviour has no ground at all, Chipzilla’s lawyers stated.

The European antitrust regulators fined Intel for 1.06 billion dollars (now 1.34 billions due to the current economic situation) after they found the company guilty of having crushed the competitors business (ie AMD) by exploiting large rebates and restrictive contracts meant to force the adoption of its CPUs by PC OEM manufacturers.

Intel fought the alleged anti-competitive behaviour accusations straightaway, and now its lawyers are being heard by the five-judge panel of the EU General Court in Luxembourg. Before the European appeal court – the second highest court of Europe after the Court of Justice – Intel dismissed any wrongdoing and called the Commission accusations groundless.

“The quality of evidence relied on by the Commission is profoundly inadequate”, Intel’s lawyers said, “the analysis is hopelessly and irretrievably defective. The Commission’s case turns on what customers’ subjective understanding is”.

Predictably, the EU lawyers had another story to tell the five judges: the kind of rebates offered by Intel “can only be intended to tie customers and put competitors in an unfavourable position”, lawyer Nicholas Khan said, further adding that the American microchip manufacturer “carefully camouflaged its anti-competitive practices”.

Now that the initial arguments have been heard, the appeal can go on according to the schedule. The case should last a few months, after that the General Court will have to rule in favour or against Intel arguments.

Source: CNET.

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26 Comments

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Companies like Intel put making profits above the law. The US approach of basically doing nothing has proven completely inadequate and only harms consumers. While the EU response may not be perfect it at least tries to protect consumers.

Intel has profited greatly from illegal actions and the fines don't do anything to redress that. If anything such fines are too small - they should be so severe and punitive that companies like Intel would never even consider taking such actions again. Businesses shouldn't be able to exploit customers by abusing their market position.

Aha! EU fines Microsoft last week and bails out the Greek banks, EU fines Intel this week and presumably uses the dosh to bail out Spain? Bit of Karma at play here ... US sub-prime mortgages get us into this almighty mess and US money sorts it all out again ...

jamieakers said,
Aha! EU fines Microsoft last week and bails out the Greek banks, EU fines Intel this week and presumably uses the dosh to bail out Spain? Bit of Karma at play here ... US sub-prime mortgages get us into this almighty mess and US money sorts it all out again ...

The Microsoft and Intel fines were imposed LONG before the financial crisis. They are completely, 100%, unrelated.

jamieakers said,
Aha! EU fines Microsoft last week and bails out the Greek banks, EU fines Intel this week and presumably uses the dosh to bail out Spain? Bit of Karma at play here ... US sub-prime mortgages get us into this almighty mess and US money sorts it all out again ...

Maybe you should check how much we, US taxpayers, paid to rescue some, and only some, banks in the US. Of course the rescued ones had "invested" a lot on Capitol Hill; BTW they invested on both aisles.... as usual.

jamieakers said,
Aha! EU fines Microsoft last week and bails out the Greek banks, EU fines Intel this week and presumably uses the dosh to bail out Spain? Bit of Karma at play here ... US sub-prime mortgages get us into this almighty mess and US money sorts it all out again ...

no, bailout money is simply printed out of thin air, in fact its not printed, just added to a computer system. Money isn't real anymore, its just digits in a system that's more corrupt than your feeble intelligence

jamieakers said,
Aha! EU fines Microsoft last week and bails out the Greek banks, EU fines Intel this week and presumably uses the dosh to bail out Spain? Bit of Karma at play here ... US sub-prime mortgages get us into this almighty mess and US money sorts it all out again ...

lol so misinformed and not even on topic...

mutualcore said,
These "anti-trust" regulators are scumbags.

Paying off OEM's is not the only thing Intel has done to hurt others in the business. Read up on stuff before you start saying who's the scumbag.

mutualcore said,
These "anti-trust" regulators are scumbags.

I completely agree, I love how Intel hiked up the processor prices after AMD effectively said they were pulling out.

Damn those anti-trust regulators who look after the consumer. Damn them!

Quite. People are so quick to knee-jerk bash the EU, they come out with all kinds of nonsense. They're there trying to make sure we're not getting exploited and screwed as consumers..

oh I love this "now 1.34 billions due to the current economic situation" that should have absolutly-freaking-nothing to do with a fine... oh our countries are running themselves into the ground, who can we increase fines on to help pay for it...... the fine if even stays should be exactly what it was originally written for... no increasing it under the guise of "depreciation" or anything else...

The fine hasn't change. The figure that has changed is the dollar value, which is due to changes in the exchange rate. However, it has actually DECREASED by $0.11bn.

The problem is that CNET made a mistake when copying the article from ZDNet and Neowin didn't use the original source, which is simply bad practice (unprofessional journalism, I guess). The fine was originally €1.06bn / $1.45bn - it was never $1.06bn. This is exactly why nobody takes CNET seriously.

PS - Even so, there was no need to jump to absurd conspiracy theories. The EU isn't trying to sneakily fine US companies.

neufuse said,
oh I love this "now 1.34 billions due to the current economic situation" that should have absolutly-freaking-nothing to do with a fine... oh our countries are running themselves into the ground, who can we increase fines on to help pay for it...... the fine if even stays should be exactly what it was originally written for... no increasing it under the guise of "depreciation" or anything else...

neufuse said,
oh I love this "now 1.34 billions due to the current economic situation" that should have absolutly-freaking-nothing to do with a fine... oh our countries are running themselves into the ground, who can we increase fines on to help pay for it...... the fine if even stays should be exactly what it was originally written for... no increasing it under the guise of "depreciation" or anything else...

if I got a fine 3 years ago for parking and didn't settle it, I'd expect to be paying more today, not that this is the case as someone selse cleared up but that's how it works in le real world.

I heard that the evidence offered against Intel was pretty compelling in the case of the means it used to strong arm OEMs into not stocking AMD powered products. I love Intel CPU's but if they used illegal methods of gaining market share they will eventually have to take their punishment.

I'm sure we will get the usual string of misinformed fools bitching about Socialism or accusing the EU's leaders of pocketing the money for their own usage, but as far as I am concerned it's only fair that businesses caught using these practices to force others out of the market be punished for it.

Javik said,

I'm sure we will get the usual string of misinformed fools bitching about Socialism or accusing the EU's leaders of pocketing the money for their own usage, but as far as I am concerned it's only fair that businesses caught using these practices to force others out of the market be punished for it.

From the article:

"1.06 billion dollars (now 1.34 billions due to the current economic situation)"

A fine is a fine. Set it at whatever, but don't increase it because you have a budget shortfall.

rfirth said,
A fine is a fine. Set it at whatever, but don't increase it because you have a budget shortfall.

It hasn't changed. CNET made a mistake when copying the article from ZDNet.

theyarecomingforyou said,

It hasn't changed. CNET made a mistake when copying the article from ZDNet.

Ok. Cool. It's still an obscene amount, but I'm glad you cleared that up.

rfirth said,
Ok. Cool. It's still an obscene amount, but I'm glad you cleared that up.

It's a large fine but it's much less than the amount that Intel profited by abusing position in the market place and employing anti-competitive practices. Intel deserved the fine.

theyarecomingforyou said,

It's a large fine but it's much less than the amount that Intel profited by abusing position in the market place and employing anti-competitive practices. Intel deserved the fine.

Why don't Intel's competitors get the money?

mrp04 said,
Why don't Intel's competitors get the money?

Because those companies didn't earn it; they were merely prevented from earning it.

However, Intel did actually pay AMD $1.25bn in relation to anti-competitive practices in an attempt to avoid further action from regulators.

theyarecomingforyou said,

Because those companies didn't earn it; they were merely prevented from earning it.

Well in that case Intel should have to pay anything, as nobody in the EU earned it^^

MFH said,

Well in that case Intel should have to pay anything, as nobody in the EU earned it^^

by that same logic no fines ever imposed upon anyone by police, government, private companies, councils etc. Should not have to be paid, because they didn't earn it.

The whole point of a fine is to punish an entity for wrong doing.

duddit2 said,

The whole point of a fine is to punish an entity for wrong doing.

That's the problem! Intel isn't really hurt by these numbers. And the ones that had to take huge losses due to Intel's practices don't get anything - which means that in the end Intel's strategy did pay off nonetheless.

rfirth said,

From the article:

"1.06 billion dollars (now 1.34 billions due to the current economic situation)"

A fine is a fine. Set it at whatever, but don't increase it because you have a budget shortfall.


Currencies fluctuate ALL THE TIME.