Court deals blow to European Union anti-trust machine

Intel Reports Quarterly Earnings

Intel has won a victory of sorts in its long-running fight against a €1.06 billion ($1.26 billion) antitrust fine that was levied against it by the European Commission eight years ago.

On Wednesday, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) made a decision to set aside the judgment of the General Court "as a result of that failure in its analysis of whether the rebates at issue were capable of restricting competition".

The decision could embolden companies challenging the European Commission, the bloc's antitrust authority, in court over competition decisions-cases the regulator typically wins.

Intel offered rebates to Dell, HP and Lenovo, along with German retail chain Media Saturn Holding, among others, in order to squeeze rival AMD out of the market, according to the Commission's ruling.

The CJEU also considered but dismissed claims by Intel that the Commission had acted outside of its jurisdiction when taking enforcement action in the case, and that there had been "material procedural irregularity" affecting its rights of defence.

In what could be seen as an encouraging sign for the company, the judges said the lower court, known as the General Court, should focus on Intel's arguments that its rebates to customers were not anti-competitive.

Facebook sold ads to Russian-linked accounts during election
Petersburg, referred to as the Internet Research Agency , though we have no way to independently confirm". Most of the ads were run in 2015 and a quarter of them were targeted at a specific region, he added.

Today's ECJ ruling could mean dominant companies feel they have more flexibility in offering rebates to high-volume buyers, suggested Komninos - adding that that could ultimately lead to cheaper priced products for consumers.

In an email to AFP, an European Union spokesman said the commission "takes note of today's ruling. and will study the judgement carefully".

The US tech giant, which has its European manufacturing headquarters in Leixlip, Co Kildare, appealed the fine to the General Court in Luxembourg.

"This is certainly a defeat for the European Commission and indicates a certain relaxation of the formalistic case law on abuse of dominance", he said in a statement.

It has also fined Google €2.4 billion for fiddling online shopping searches and has threatened to fine it €5 billion more on the way it sells its Android operating system.

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