Intel has won its appeal against a €1.06-billion-euro ($1.2 billion) EU antitrust fine from 12 years ago according to Reuters. The decision to impose the fine was annulled in its entirety by the same court that in 2014 had upheld the original 2009 ruling.
The original case revolved around whether Intel had blocked AMD from the market by giving rebates to Dell, HP, and Lenovo if they bought at least 95% of their chips from Intel. The original case was one of the EU’s landmark antitrust decisions, but the EU General Court ruled on Wednesday January 26th that regulators made key errors when compiling the original case.
The court said the commission’s analysis had been “incomplete” when it originally fined Intel, and that it didn’t provide enough evidence to back up its findings of anti-competitive behavior. It had failed to show “to the requisite legal standard” that the contested rebates posed an anti-competitive risk.
The billion-dollar fine represented about 4% of Intel’s $37.6 billion in sales in 2008, according to figures from Bloomberg. The legal wrangling and multi-part appeal has continued non-stop for 12 years, including a rejection of the challenge in 2014, and various transfers between different levels of the court. In 2017, the EU Court of Justice, the highest level of bewigged legal authority in the EU, told the General Court to look at the case again.
In a statement, Intel said it wouldn’t be making a statement, as it was “currently reviewing the decision” and “will provide further comment when we have completed our initial review.”