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Intel Wins a Historic Victory against the EU's Antitrust Regulator & the EU announces their Declaration on Digital Rights & Principles

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The European Commission led by Margrethe Vestager has been fighting Silicon Valley's top tech giants for years. Three reports posted in April, June and July 2021 covered a few of the EU Commissioner's latest moves and commentaries against Apple.


In July 2020 Patently Apple posted a report titled "Within 24 Hours of Losing her back-tax case against Apple, EU Commissioner Vestager sent out a new threat over Siri." We noted in a report in October 2021 that "France's President Macron made it clear that Europe wants to replace the top 10 U.S. tech companies with European equivalents." This is the motivation for attacking U.S. tech companies on an ongoing basis.


Today, the EU Commission was dealt a loss in their battle against Intel. Bloomberg reports that "Intel Corp. won a historic victory in its fight in the European Union courts over a record 1.06 billion-euro ($1.2 billion) antitrust fine.


The EU General Court ruled Wednesday that EU regulators made key errors when they slapped Intel with the penalty for allegedly squeezing out rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc.


Judges said the European Commission provided an 'incomplete' analysis when they fined the chip giant, saying the decision at the time "does not make it possible to establish to the requisite legal standard that the rebates at issue were capable of having, or likely to have, anti-competitive effects."


The judgment follows a 2017 ruling from the bloc’s top court, which criticized the General Court -- the EU’s second-highest tribunal -- for not properly checking all factual and economic evidence when it previously weighed Intel’s appeal. 


The European Commission in 2009 hit Intel with the bloc’s biggest antitrust fine at the time. It represented about 4% of Intel’s $37.6 billion in sales in 2008. Since then, Santa Clara, California-based Intel has been locked in a non-stop legal dispute with the EU’s antitrust arm. For more on this, read the full BNN Bloomberg report.


Earlier this week the Dutch watchdog fined Apple €5 million for failure of the App Store to comply with an order to open its app store to allow dating app providers in the Netherlands to use alternative payment methods.


In a statement published this week, the Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) stated: "Apple has failed to satisfy the requirements on several points."


The war over the App Store's alternative payment methods and other issues led by the EU Commission is likely to surface later this year. Apple is likely to fight the EU Commission and take their battle to EU's highest court in the land. Stay tuned.  


The EU's Declaration on Digital Rights and Principles


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Prior to action that will be taken against Apple later this year, the EU Commission released two press releases this morning titled "Commission puts forward declaration on digital rights and principles for everyone in the EU," and "Speech by Executive Vice-President Vestager on the Declaration on Digital Rights and Principles."


The draft declaration covers key rights and principles for the digital transformation, such as placing people and their rights at its centre, supporting solidarity and inclusion, ensuring the freedom of choice online, fostering participation in the digital public space, increasing safety, security and empowerment of individuals, and promoting the sustainability of the digital future."


While some of the EU's declaration on digital rights will be used as a tool against Apple and other U.S. tech companies starting this fall, there are some other interesting entries. One of them is presented below:


Fourth – "Participation in the digital public space, where we commit to promoting an online open environment for a healthy, vivid democratic debate. Here again, it is already happening: our Digital Services Act also includes provisions to protect our freedom of speech, without fear of being censored or intimidated while being online." This is something that the U.S. should be fully supporting to stem the tide of censorship being exercised by the likes of social media giants Twitter, Facebook and others.


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For those wanting to dive deeper into the Declaration on European Digital Rights and Principles now being drafted, check out this page with multiple references.


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