On behalf of the team

On 26 January 2022, the Court of First Instance announced that it had ruled that the European Commission had wrongly imposed a fine of EUR 1.06 billion on Intel in 2009 for abuse of a dominant position on the global market for x86 processors.[1]General Court of the European Union, 26 January 2022, case T-286/09 RENV (Intel v Commission), see also press release no 16/22, 26 January 2022. According to the Commission, the abuse consisted of Intel (i) paying customers to postpone the sale of products with competing processors (the so-called “naked restrictions“) and (ii) gave high discounts to a large retailer and four manufacturers of computers if they exclusively sold computers with x86 processors from Intel. After the European Commission imposed the fine in 2009, Intel first appealed to the Court of First Instance (judgment in 2014) and then to the Court of Justice. In 2017, the Court of Justice ruled that the Court of First Instance had not properly applied the law and referred the case back. Now the Court of First Instance held that its decision in 2014 had been “incomplete” and that the conditional discounts under (ii) required a different assessment, in accordance with the criteria prescribed by the Court of Justice. The Court of First Instance concluded that the Commission had not imposed the correct test. Even if the basis of “naked restrictions” remained intact, the Court of First Instance nevertheless cancelled the fine as a whole, because it did not consider itself competent to determine which part of the penalty only pertained to the “naked restrictions”.