On June 12, 2014, the European General Court handed down a ruling that rejected Intel’s appeal to have its $1.44 billion fine overturned.
In 2009, the European Commission (“EC”) concluded that Intel engaged in anticompetitive practices. According to the EC, Intel’s alleged anticompetitive behavior included giving rebates to PC makers Dell, Hewlett-Packard, NEC and Lenovo to discourage them from using computer chips made by its rival Advanced Micro Devices. Intel was also alleged to have paid German retail chain Media Saturn Holdings to only stock computers that use Intel chips.
While the $1.44 billion fine is a record fine by the EC, European competition officials say it is a mild amount given that the EC could have exacted a fine as high as 10% of Intel’s turnover in 2008. The fine only represents 4.15% of Intel’s 2008 turnover.
Many companies have recently settled with the EC instead of pursuing a court battle, perhaps deterred by the ever rising level of fines. Both Google and Samsung have recently settled outstanding cases with the EC.