In 2022, the European General Court partially annulled the Commission's earlier decision in relation to Intel's conditional rebates practice and confirmed that naked restrictions meant an abuse of dominant position in the market under EU competition rules
The European Commission (EC) has re-issued a fine of €376.36m on Intel for anti-competitive practices in the market for computer chips called x86 central processing units (CPUs).
According to the Commission, Intel has been fined for a previously proven misuse of its dominant position in the x86 CPUs market.
The EC alleges the American technology company engaged in a series of anticompetitive practices intended to remove competitors from the relevant market in violation of European Union (EU) antitrust rules.
In 2009, the antitrust regulator imposed a €1.06bn fine on Intel. It came after the Commission found that the company was involved in two specific types of illegal practices, which include conditional rebates and naked restrictions.
Under the first practice, Intel either gave full or partially hidden rebates to computer manufacturers on condition that they purchased all their x86 CPUs from the company.
The naked restrictions refer to the technology company paying computer manufacturers to halt or defer the launch of specific products featuring competitors’ x86 CPUs as well as to restrict the sales channels available to these products.
Last year, the European General Court partially invalidated the Commission’s earlier decision in relation to Intel’s conditional rebates practice. However, the General Court ruled that naked restrictions meant an abuse of dominant position in the market under EU competition rules.
The General Court revoked the fine imposed on Intel in its entirety after coming to a conclusion that it could not determine the amount of the fine when considering only the naked restrictions.
The Commission has now adopted a new decision for the naked restrictions that took place between November 2002 and December 2006.
EC Commissioner, in charge of competition policy, Didier Reynders said: “With today’s decision, we are re-imposing a €376.36 million fine on Intel for having abused its dominant position in the computer chips market. Intel paid its customers to limit, delay or cancel the sale of products containing computer chips of its main rival.
“This is illegal under our competition rules. Our decision shows the Commission’s commitment to ensure that very serious antitrust breaches do not go unsanctioned.”