Intel hit with $400 million EU antitrust fine in decades-old case

A smartphone with a displayed Intel logo is placed on a computer motherboard in this illustration taken March 6, 2023. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

BRUSSELS (Reuters) -Intel was fined 376 million euros ($400 million) on Friday in an EU antitrust case stemming from the U.S. chipmaker's anti-competitive practice nearly two decades ago to block rivals.

An initial record fine of 1.06 billion euros in 2009 for the offence and other practices was thrown out last year by the Luxembourg-based General Court, Europe's second highest.

The court, however, agreed with the European Commission that Intel illegally excluded rivals from the market which prompted the EU antitrust watchdog to re-open the case.

The 2009 ruling accused Intel of blocking rival Advanced Micro Devices.

On Friday, the EU watchdog said it had re-imposed a fine for practices between November 2002 and December 2006 when Intel paid HP, Acer and Lenovo to halt or delay rival products.

"The General Court confirmed that Intel's naked restrictions amounted to an abuse of dominant market position under EU competition rules," the European Commission said in a statement.

Intel said it was assessing its options.

"We are analysing the decision and the amount of the fine to determine the possible grounds and prospects of success of an appeal to the European Courts.," the company said in a statement.

Intel is currently awaiting the Commission's approval for nearly 10 billion euros in German state subsidies to build a chipmaking facility in Germany.

The Commission has appealed the other parts of the General Court's ruling last year related to conditional rebates offered by Intel at the EU Court of Justice, Europe's top court.

($1 = 0.9403 euros)

(Reporting by Bart Meijer; editing by Jane Merriman and Jason Neely)

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