Components & Peripherals News
EU Reimposes $400M Fine On Intel For Anti-Competitive Moves Against AMD
The European Commission’s new fine is related to so-called ‘naked restrictions’ that consisted of payments Intel made to HP, Acer and Lenovo in the 2000s. In exchange, those OEMs halted or delayed the launch of PCs powered by AMD CPUs and limited the sales channels for those products. The fine was issued after Intel did not appeal a court ruling that found these payments illegal.
The European Union’s antitrust regulators have reimposed a fine worth roughly $400 million against Intel for payments it made to HP Inc., Acer and Lenovo in the 2000s to curtail sales of AMD-based PCs.
Announced Friday, the European Commission levied the new 376.36 million euro fine against Intel as part of an antitrust case that began 14 years ago after the semiconductor giant won an appeal of a larger fine worth $1.2 billion last year related to payments and rebates it gave to PC vendors to restrict AMD CPU sales.
“With today’s decision, we are reimposing a €376.36 million fine on Intel for having abused its dominant position in the computer chips market,” said European Commissioner Didier Reynders in a statement.
“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,” Reynders added.
An Intel spokesperson told CRN that the company is “reviewing today’s decision and fine, which follows from the European General Court’s 2022 vindication of Intel in the key contentions of the case, resulting in the return to Intel of the original 2009 fine of 1.06 billion euros.”
The European Commission said the new fine is related to so-called “naked restrictions” that consisted of payments Intel made to HP, Acer and Lenovo in the 2000s. In exchange, those OEMs halted or delayed the launch of PCs powered by AMD CPUs and limited the sales channels for those products.
Intel made the payments to Acer and Lenovo to postpone the launch of AMD-based laptops, from September 2003 to January 2004 for an Acer notebook and from June 2006 to the end of 2006 for Lenovo notebooks, according to the antitrust agency.
HP delayed its first AMD-based business desktop in Europe by six months while also limiting the sales of AMD-based business desktops to small- and medium-sized enterprises because of payments it received from Intel between November 2002 and May 2005. The PC vendor also halted the sales of those desktops through distributors, only relying on direct distribution channels instead.
The European Commission said it levied the new fine because Intel did not appeal the European General Court’s 2022 ruling that confirmed the naked restrictions illegal.
In that same 2022 ruling, the General Court annulled the antitrust agency’s 2009 decision on so-called “conditional rebates” Intel paid to OEMs on the condition they buy mostly or completely Intel CPUs. At the time, the court invalidated the European Commission’s 1.06 billion euro fine because “it could not establish the amount of the fine relating only to the naked restrictions,” the agency said.
The European Commission said it is currently appealing the General Court’s 2022 ruling that annulled the part of its fine related to Intel’s conditional rebates for OEMs.
Despite the new fine against Intel, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based chipmaker said it remains committed to building new manufacturing, research and development capacity in Europe.
“This decision relates to the smaller part of the original 2009 European Commission Decision. While we are disappointed in a fine of this amount, we continue to focus on our future investments in the EU, and on cooperating with the EC in helping advance Europe’s semiconductor industry,” Intel said.