Intel has won an appeal against a penalty worth $1.2 billion handed out twelve years ago in relation to an EU antitrust investigation.
The original claim, levelled by the European Commission (EC), was that Intel had blocked arch-rival AMD from the CPU market by handing out rebates to some of its largest customers, including Dell, HP and Lenovo.
However, the hefty fine (worth 4% of Intel’s revenue in 2008) has now been rescinded after a review of the case conducted by judges from the EU General Court, the second-highest legal authority in Europe.
Intel fine repealed
Intel’s campaign to appeal the original ruling has been ongoing for more than a decade now. In 2014, the EU General Court announced it would uphold the verdict, but was later ordered by the European Court of Justice to review the case again.
As reported by Reuters, the results of this review emerged earlier this week and proved critical of the regulator’s investigation, which was described as lacking in sufficient depth.
“The Commission’s analysis is incomplete and does 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 judges wrote.
The ruling is expected to make life harder for regulators in future by establishing a higher bar for proof of anticompetitive practices, which will be celebrated by the likes of Google and Apple, which are facing antitrust battles of their own in the EU.
For its part, the EC says it will take some time to consider the results of the review before determining its next course of action. The latest judgement could still be appealed in the Court of Justice.
TechRadar Pro asked Intel for a comment on the new ruling, but did not receive an immediate response.
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Via Reuters (opens in new tab)