EU court adviser backs Intel appeal against record EU fine

Intel is currently embroiled in a fight against a record 1.06 billion euro (£950,000) EU antitrust fine, but the company recieved a boost today when an adviser to Europe’s top court questioned if the chipmaker had actually harmed competition. 

According to Reuters, Advocate General Nils Wahl at the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) has cast into doubt the claims of Apple, Google, and Amazon, all of whom have filed cases against Intel.

"Intel’s appeal against the imposition of a 1.06 billion euro fine for abuse of its dominant position should be upheld. The case should be referred back to the General Court for a fresh review," Wahl said in a non-binding recommendation.

The General Court had rejected Intel’s challenge in 2014, saying that the European Commission’s actions were not too harsh and that the record sanction – amounting to 4.15 per cent of Intel’s 2008 turnover against a possible maximum of 10 per cent – was justified.

It is expected that the ECJ will rule in the coming months.

Wahl had argued that the General Court failed to establish that the rebates and payments offered by Intel were anti-competitve and that deals between it and Lenovo proved detrimental to European consumers.

The European Commission penalised Intel in 2009 for tactics aimed at stifling AMD, including giving rebates to Dell, Hewlett-Packard, NEC and Lenovo for buying most of their computer chips from Intel.

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