Uncertain Times for Dominant Firms: The EU Commission’s Intel Decision Finally Becomes Public

October 16, 2009
Intel Corporation was sanctioned by the European Commission earlier this year with a record fine of €1.06 billion ($1.6 billion) for abusing its dominant position on the worldwide market for computer chips as a result of imposing illegal loyalty rebate schemes and making direct payments to computer manufacturers. In its reasoning, the Commission applied both a new effects-based approach as well as the traditional per se approach to dominant firm conduct. Until the courts clarify which approach is correct, the parallel application of the old and new rules can create legal uncertainty for dominant companies. This update explores the Commission’s decision and potential ramifications for dominant firm conduct.