The EU’s top court on Wednesday ordered a lower court to reconsider an appeal by US tech giant Intel against a $1.27 billion fine imposed by the European Commission for anti-competitive behavior.
The European Commission hit Intel in May 2009 with a record fine for having abused its dominant position in the processor market.
Intel was accused of offering its clients price rebates to use its computer chips in preference to those of rival Advanced Micro Devices (AMD).
The microchip giant then appealed to the General Court, second only to the European Court of Justice, but lost the case in 2014.
On Wednesday, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) decided 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 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”, according to an ECJ statement.
The decision is a slap for a European Commission which has not lost a major anti-trust case in decades. It will also have a huge impact on similar cases against Google, Apple and chipmaker Qualcomm.
In June, the European Commission hit Google with a record fine of $2.7 billion for violating antitrust regulations.