Generally speaking, when it comes to protecting consumers, it seems like Europe just doesn’t play around. Intel just learned this the hard way, after losing an appeal of a $1.44 billion fine that was levied against the tech giant by the European Commission, which is the executive body of the European Union.
The fine was upheld by the General Court of the European Union, after the Commission fined Intel for attempting to manipulate the market by leveraging its considerably strong position, relative to its top competitor, AMD.
According to the findings of the European Commission, Intel offered rebates to multiple computer manufacturers, including Lenovo, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and other firms, on the condition that they bought x86 CPUs only from Dell, while actively avoiding doing any business with AMD. It also paid Media-Saturn, a reseller, to sell computers equipped with Intel processors. The Commission found that Intel was an “unavoidable supplier” of processors.
However, this isn’t necessarily the end of this case. Intel can still appeal the fine via the Court of Justice of the European Union.
Does Intel have a chance here? It’s difficult to say, though, as we mentioned, Europe has a history of coming down hard on companies engaging in iffy business practices. For instance, as of today, the European Commission is looking into the tax affairs of three mega-companies: Apple, Starbucks, and Fiat. Then there’s the case of Germany fining Google for what it called “unprecedented” violations of privacy.