Intel sets out case against record EU fine


Author: Nikki Tait

Europe's top competition watchdog failed to evaluate the evidence properly and "materially infringed" Intel's rights of defence in an investigation that led to a record fine of €1.1bn ($1.6bn), lawyers for the US chipmaker have argued. The fine was imposed by the European Commission in May after a long-running probe concluded that Intel had abused its dominant market position and used illegal sales practices to encourage computer manufacturers to carry its products. Intel said in July it intended to appeal against the decision. The grounds of appeal, published in the European Union's official journal, show that the company's lawyers plan to focus on how Commission officials assessed the evidence. The chipmaker claims the Commission failed to "meet the required standard of proof" in its analysis; failed to address evidence that showed a competitor substantially increasing market share at one stage; failed to establish a causal link between Intel's so-called "conditional discounts" and the decisions of customers not to purchase chips from AMD, Intel's main competitor; and failed to analyze how those discounts affected consumers. Intel is also raising a series of legal arguments. These centre on a challenge to the Commission's finding that its discounts were abusive in themselves because they were conditional - without assessing whether they had the capacity to reduce competition.

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