When Intel wrote a check to the European Union last quarter for $1.4 billion dollars after having been found guilty of abusing its chip industry monopoly, it led to the first quarterly loss the company had reported in 23 years.
Today might mark the first baby step forward to getting that fine back.
According to the Wall Street Journal, an EU ombudsman looking into the case has found "maladministration" by EU regulators who neglected to include "potentially exculpatory evidence" before ruling against Intel.
The ombudsman, P. Nikiforos Diamandouros, can't overrule, or reverse the EU's decision, but with Intel vowing to appeal it aggressively, and sources telling me there has been a pattern of this kind of behavior dating back to Intel's appearances before Europe's Court of First Instance, today's news could be enormous.
Before Intel's finance and legal team celebrate too much, keep in mind the appeals process could stretch as long as three years, and even then, depending on what part of the case Intel might win, the company may get all or part of the fine it has already paid.