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EU top court orders re-examination of Intel anti-trust fine

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The EU's top court on Wednesday ordered a lower court to reconsider its rejection of an appeal by US chip giant Intel against one of the EU's biggest-ever fines for breaking competition rules.

[LUXEMBOURG] The EU's top court on Wednesday ordered a lower court to reconsider its rejection of an appeal by US chip giant Intel against one of the EU's biggest-ever fines for breaking competition rules.

The decision by the European Court of Justice keeps alive one of the longest running EU competition court cases in history that could have a huge impact in similar cases against Google and chipmaker Qualcomm.

The European Commission, the EU's executive arm, in 2009 slapped a then record fine of 1.06 billion euros (S$1.71 billion) on Intel after it said the company had offered clients price rebates to use its own computer chips in preference to rival AMD.

Intel then appealed to the General Court, second only to the European Court of Justice, but lost the case in 2014.

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"The Court refers the case back to the General Court so that it may examine, in the light of the arguments put forward by Intel, whether the rebates at issue are capable of restricting competition," the court said in a statement.

A victory for Intel would bring a rare defeat for the European Commission that has not lost a major anti-trust case in decades.

The fine against Intel was a record at the time, but the EU surpassed it in June with a 2.4 billion euro against Google over its online shopping service.

AFP