In the years-long legal dispute over a billion-dollar fine at the expense of the chip giant Intel, the EU Commission had to accept defeat.

Because, among other things, it did not adequately examine objections from the company, the EU court declared a 1.06 billion heavy competition penalty against Intel void on Wednesday (case T-286/09).

The company was accused of attempting to unlawfully drive competitors out of the market.

The judgment can still be appealed to the ECJ.

The dispute has a long history. As early as May 2009, the EU Commission, under Neelie Kroes, the EU Commissioner responsible for competition at the time, imposed what was then a historic high fine of a good one billion euros. The competition authorities had punished Intel for the alleged abuse of a dominant market position. According to the Brussels authorities, between 2002 and 2007 the company offered discounts to computer manufacturers to buy chips from the group instead of processors from competitor AMD.

In addition, the chip giant linked payments to the German electronics store chain Media-Saturn to the condition that they only sell computers with Intel processors.

According to the reasoning of the EU Commission, Intel wanted to force the only serious competitor out of the market.

The US company initially failed in 2014 with an action against the fine at the EU court, but three years later the ECJ decided that the EU-G had to reopen the case.

In essence, the ECJ complained that the EU court made it too easy for itself when it rejected the Intel appeal and assumed that dominant companies would automatically commit abuse with such discounts.

Now the court said: "The examination carried out by the Commission is therefore incomplete." The competition authorities had not sufficiently explained in legal terms that the disputed discounts might or might have had anti-competitive effects.

It annulled in its entirety the article which fined Intel.

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