Europe's top judges have dealt a rare blow to European Union antitrust regulators by sending their case against chipmaker Intel back to a lower court for an appeal. As Ciara Lee reports, the move may have ramifications for the EU watchdog's cases against Qualcomm and Google.
Recent European antitrust cases have gone against US tech firms. So this one took some by surprise. (SOUNDBITE) (English) EUROPEAN COURT OF JUSTICE JUDGE, KOEN LENAERTS, SAYING: "The Court's Grand Chamber hereby: One - sets aside the judgement of the General Court of the European Union of 12 June 2014, Intel versus (European) Commission, T-286/09, Two - refers the case back to the General Court of the European Union." Intel was fined a billion euros in 2009. The Commission ruled it had tried to block a rival by giving rebates to several PC makers in return for buying their computer chips. It was record fine at the time and Intel appealed. This new decision to review the ruling could have big implications. It may raise the bar for the regulator when it comes to proving wrongdoing. And there are other big names watching carefully. The EU's watchdog has ongoing cases against Google and Qualcomm. The Internet giant was fined 2.4 billion euros in June over its shopping services. And is under fire over its Android smartphone operating system and online search advertising. Chipmaker Qualcomm is accused of using anti-competitive methods to squeeze out a rival. And making illegal payments to a customer for exclusively using its products.