Skip to main content

Intel's €1.06 billion antitrust fine overturned by EU's General Court

Intel Core i9-11900K review
Intel Core i9-11900K review (Image credit: Harish Jonnalagadda / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • The European General Court has overturned a €1.06 billion fine of Intel that was issued in 2009.
  • Intel was fined after the European Commission determined that the company "abused its dominant position" to exclude competitors from the market.
  • The General Court ruled that the European Commission's analysis was "incomplete," preventing the court from being able to meet the legal standard to assess the impact of Intel's alleged practices.

The European Union's General Court overturned a €1.06 billion fine issued against Intel in 2009. The fine was levied against Intel after the European Commission determined that the company "abused its dominant position on the worldwide market for x86 2 processors" to exclude competing chipmakers.

The Commission claimed that Intel used a combination of restrictions and conditional rebates to get companies to purchase all or almost all of their CPUs from Intel. Dell, Lenovo, HP, and NEC were said to have strategic agreements with Intel.

The General Court ruled today, January 26, 2022, that "the analysis carried out by the Commission is incomplete and, in any event, does not make it possible to establish to the requisite legal standard that the rebates at issue were capable of having, or were likely to have, anticompetitive effects, which is why the General Court annuls the decision."

The court added that it's not in a position to identify how much of a fine would be appropriate solely for the naked restrictions. As a result, the court overturned the fine.

Intel appealed the 2009 fine in 2014, but the General Court dismissed that move.

The Wall Street Journal notes that the decision could still be appealed, so Intel's legal battle surrounding the rebates and agreements with OEMs may not be over.

Sean Endicott
Sean Endicott

Sean Endicott is the news writer for Windows Central. If it runs Windows, is made by Microsoft, or has anything to do with either, he's on it. Sean's been with Windows Central since 2017 and is also our resident app expert. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com.

1 Comment
  • This tells us something about the dangers of antitrust. Things move quickly. Even if the regulators have it right and there is some sort of anticompetitive behavior that should be regulated (and that's a big if; the process has been Elizabeth Warren-ized in the US, ironically following Europe's lead it seems), we don't know how long the company's dominant position will last. This is particularly true in tech, which as anyone can see is fast-moving.