In May Intel was fined 1bn Euros for abuse of a dominant position regarding rebate payments, contrary to Article 82 of the Treaty of Rome, in a decision which should make other dominant companies take note.
Intel had 70% of the market for x86 CPUs so it was “dominant”. It gave incentives to ensure its products were bought, which breached the law and led to these huge fines. Intel engaged in two illegal practices. It gave hidden rebates to computer manufacturers on condition that they bought their x86 CPUs from Intel. Intel also made direct payments to a major retailer on condition it stock only computers with Intel x86 CPUs. The Commission said Such rebates and payments effectively prevented customers – and ultimately consumers – from choosing alternative products.
Second, Intel made direct payments to computer manufacturers to halt or delay the launch of specific products containing competitors’ x86 CPUs and to limit the sales channels available to these products. The Commission found that these practices constituted abuses of Intel’s dominant position on the x86 CPU market that harmed consumers throughout the EEA. By undermining its competitors’ ability to compete on the merits of their products, Intel’s actions undermined competition and innovation.
If you are the victim of abusive conduct such as this or are a company worried about whether you might be at risk of similar fines, contact us for further advice. Please contact Cathy Cook at Jordans Solicitors Wakefield Office in West Yorkshire.
Tel. 01924 387110