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Intel Wins A Round In $1.26 Billion Dollar Fight With EU

Intel who are desperately fighting a battle with the European Union for the past 8 years has finally won a round after they were initially fined US $1.26 billion fine in a case that could have ramifications for a list of disputes involving U.S. tech giants including Google and Qualcomm.

According to Bloomberg The EU’s top court ruled that Intel’s appeal had to be reexamined by a lower tribunal, criticizing judges for failing to properly analyze the economic aspects of the case in its 2014 decision to reject the chipmaker’s challenge.

The lower court “was required to examine all of Intel’s arguments” regarding a test to check whether the rebates used by the company was capable of harming competition, the EU Court of Justice in Luxembourg said Wednesday. The lower tribunal — the EU General Court — has to examine “whether the rebates at issue were capable of restricting competition.”

Intel is among the few companies to have continued a battle against a European Commission fine all the way to the top EU court. The Brussels-based antitrust regulator accused the company of using discounts to hurt Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), a decision backed by a lower EU court in 2014.

The commission hasn’t lost many antitrust cases over the last 20 years. Knowing that they face likely defeat, most companies being probed for monopoly abuse tend to cave in. They agree to a binding deal to change their behavior, shutting down the EU investigation early to avoid fines or to get a reduced penalty.

Intel shares had their biggest jump in a month. They rose 60 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $35.62, at 10:57 a.m. in New York after gaining as much as 2.5 percent.

The EU’s investigation found that Intel hindered competition by giving rebates to computer makers from 2002 until 2005 if they bought at least 95 percent of PC chips from Intel. It said Intel imposed “restrictive conditions” for the remaining 5 percent, supplied by AMD, which struggled to overcome Intel’s hold on the market for processors that run the devices.

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