Intel must pay $1.5bn fine after losing appeal

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Intel must pay $1.5bn fine after losing appeal

Intel must pay a €1.06 billion (A$1.5 billion) fine after a European court denied its appeal.

Intel was hit with the fine in 2009 after the European Commission ruled the chip maker had abused its dominant market position by offering "rebates" and direct payments to PC makers to keep them from using AMD's products.

The company appealed, arguing that the fine was too heavy handed; at the time, it was the largest fine doled out by the EC. Now, the General Court has upheld the EC's decision.

The European Commission welcomed the ruling. "The judgment is significant because it confirms that the Commission was fully justified in pursuing the anti-competitive conduct in question in a major worldwide market," it said in a statement.

The court said the EC had indeed proven the existence of Intel's secret payments and shown that the practise was an abuse of its dominant market position. "The General Court considers that none of the arguments raised by Intel supports the conclusion that the fine imposed is disproportionate," the ruling said, according to Reuters.

"On the contrary, it must be considered that the fine is appropriate in the light of the facts of the case."

Intel can still argue the case at the EU Court of Justice, but hasn't said if it will do so. "We are very disappointed about the decision," an Intel spokeswoman told Reuters. "It's a complex case which is reflected in the decision. We will begin evaluating the decision."

Intel could have been fined up to 10 percent of its annual turnover, but the actual fine was 4.15 percent of its 2008 revenue.

Microsoft has also been fined more than a billion euros throughout the years by the EC, most recently for failing to include the browser choice ballot in Windows 7. Google has so far dodged punishment by agreeing to alter its search results.

This article originally appeared at pcpro.co.uk

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