Intel’s greatest adversary brought the case to the EU’s attention back in 2000, with additional complaints filed in 2003 and 2006. The Commission believes that Intel had dispensed hidden rebates to Acer, Dell, HP, Lenovo and NEC if they agreed to only use Intel chips. Furthermore, Media Saturn, who owns Europe’s largest consumer electronics retailer Media Markt, had been paid to exclusively sell computers with Intel processors.
In a statement, Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes affirmed that “Intel has harmed millions of European consumers by deliberately acting to keep competitors out of the market for computer chips for many years.” In an unsurprising response to the ruling, CEO Paul Otellini stated that “Intel takes a strong exception to this decision. We believe the decision is wrong and ignores the reality of a highly competitive microprocessor marketplace.” He went on to deny that any harm had been caused to consumers, and that Intel would appeal the decision.