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Intel In It For The Long Haul On EU Appeal

Chip giant doesn't expect a ruling on its appeal of a record $1.45 billion antitrust fine by the European Commission for 18 to 24 months.

Intel's July appeal

Intel expects a ruling on its appeal in 18 to 24 months, a legal spokesman for the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company said. Intel approved the EC's summary of its 200-page appeal to the Court of First Instance in Luxembourg ahead of the summary's online publication by the European Court of Justice, Intel spokesman Chuck Mulloy said Tuesday.

The EC, following an eight-year investigation, ruled in May that Intel gave secret rebates to computer manufacturers on the condition that they severely limit or completely exclude rival chip maker Advanced Micro Devices' x86 microprocessors in their products. A record European antitrust fine amounting to $1.45 billion was levied in Intel's fiscal second quarter of 2009, essentially assuring the world's leading maker of microprocessors of its first quarterly financial loss in 22 years.

Intel argues that the May ruling was based on a case that "fails to meet the required standard of proof in its analysis of the evidence," according to the EC summary. Mulloy said in July, when Intel filed the appeal, that the EC had "refused to look at some of the evidence and in some cases refused to get some other evidence that was available" in its investigation of the chip maker.

Intel is prepared for a very long process to get a new ruling from the Court of First Instance, which could go any number of ways, Mulloy said Tuesday.

"They could completely deny us, they could throw out part of the ruling, they could overturn the entire thing, or anything in between," he said.

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