The European Union has fined Intel againon this occasion with about 376 million euros (40 million dollars) for anti-competitive practices. According to Reuters, this sanction comes after the General Court of the EU, the second largest in the region, based in Luxembourg, dismissed a previous fine against the company. This penalty was slightly more than 1,000 million euros, and was imposed by the European Union in 2009.
This initial fine was due to Intel’s attempts to reduce AMD’s chances in the x86 CPU market. To impose it, the European Commission alleged that Intel’s financial incentives to computer manufacturers had had a negative impact on competition in the sector. However, the court rejected this claim, leading to the fine being annulled.
As for the new sanction, it focuses on Intel’s practices between 2002 and 2006 with several of the main computer manufacturers, such as HP or Lenovo. The agreements that Intel had with them were, apparently, focused on slowing down and even stopping the entry of products that integrated CPUs from their competitors, something that apparently happened in the first years of this century.
At the time, Intel competed primarily with AMD, although there were other smaller suppliers of x86 CPUs. The court, with its decision, has recognized that these actions are a clear misuse of Intel’s dominant market position.
However, the court’s ruling last year to overturn the original fine was not based on a rejection of Intel’s market abuse. It was done because of ambiguities related to how the fine was related to Intel’s questionable practices. The decision of the European Commission to fine Intel again to correct these ambiguities and hold the company responsible for its actions during the aforementioned period.
Therefore, Intel’s market practices between 2002 and 2006 have been recognized as abusive, although the amounts that have been imposed as sanctions, and their justifications, are more contained than those imposed a few years ago. Despite this, with this sanction, the European Commission seeks to rectify issues that have been overlooked and ensure that Intel’s dominance of the market is not used for bad purposes or to the detriment of its competitors in particular and the entire sector in general.
As expected, Intel is evaluating the options it has regarding this sanction, and if it deems appropriate, it will take action.. Thus, he has stated that they are «analyzing the decision and the amount of the fine to determine the possible bases and chances of success of an appeal to the European Courts«.