The EU General Court on Wednesday annulled the €1.06 billion ($1.2 billion) antitrust fine on microprocessor manufacturer Intel.
The EU court ruled that the European Commission carried out an “incomplete” analysis when it imposed a penalty on Intel in 2009.
The EU executive body sanctioned the company in 2009 for allegedly trying to block its competitors by giving rebates to computer makers for buying most of their chips from Intel.
In the latest ruling, the court found that the European Commission’s analysis did “not make it possible to establish to the requisite legal standard that the rebates at issue were capable of having, or likely to have, anticompetitive effects.”
The legal procedure lasted exceptionally long because the EU General Court in 2014 first rejected Intel’s appeal against the fine which was record high at that time, approximately 4% of its sales in 2008.
The company took the case to the top authority and the EU Court of Justice referred it back in 2017 to the general court, stating that the lower court didn’t take all economic and factual evidence into account.
Maintaining fair competition in the EU’s internal market is one of the few exclusive competencies of the EU.
It allows the European Commission to decide on state aid rules and fine companies for breaching EU law.
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