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Investigators crack down on illegal tactics against AMD

South Korean antitrust investigators fined Intel Corp. 26 billion won ($25 million), for illegal rebates and parts discounts to manufacturers on condition that they not buy from rival manufacturer AMD.

The fine, which closely mirrors the outcome of a similar antitrust investigation in Japan in 2005, makes Intel the second major global technology company to be disciplined by South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission, after Microsoft in December 2005.

Intel said it was displeased with the outcome of the order, and is considering appeal.

“We're disappointed and we completely disagree with the findings,” said Intel’s senior VP and general counsel Bruce Sewell.

South Korean officials hit Intel with antitrust charges last year, working from findings of a two-year investigation wrapped up last September.

Forbes called the rebates a “time-honored practice in the personal computer industry;” identical practices in Europe, the United States, and Japan have since landed the company in considerable hot water. Both European and American investigations are still pending.

In Europe, rumors of a “provisional decision” at the end of last month proved to be false, after European Commission officials dismissed a report that it had gathered sufficient evidence to enter a ruling. Despite that, the Commission promised an antitrust ruling against Intel “as soon as possible,” but refused to provide a specific timeline.

If antitrust rulings against Microsoft are any indication, Korea’s ruling against Intel will be a pittance against the kind of money that European investigators might fine. Antitrust investigations against Microsoft hit the company with a whopping $1.4 billion fine last February – compared to $32 million in South Korea – and EU antitrust rules allow for fines of up to 10 percent of annual sales.

Intel will wait for the dust to settle before it acts, it said, as the official outcome could take between 30 and 60 days and may change significantly during that time. The company can also opt to request reconsideration from the KFTC, or choose to seek a court ruling.

Regardless, Intel denied any wrongdoing with respect to its rebate practices.

“To ask us to cease and desist behavior which we are not doing and never have done is odd,” said Intel representative Nick Jacobs. “We don't use rebates in an anticompetitive fashion.”

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RE: Rebates are perfectly acceptable
By plinkplonk on 6/6/2008 7:14:58 AM , Rating: 2
ever since P4 intel have pissed me off... any advert on tv for a computer shop would be like "check out this awesome PC with an Intel Pentium 4 Processor *cue the music and the splash screen*" i mean seriously that had to be the most annoying ad campaign in history (donno if it was outside the UK or not) because it was so painful to see all these companies plugging intel (cash incetives) when AMD at the time were offering much better performance.

seems petty but im not too bothered about a couple of herz here n there so i go amd for not pissing me off :P

By Reclaimer77 on 6/6/2008 5:53:45 PM , Rating: 2
Yes but what you AMD guys refuse to realize is that in the eyes of the consumer, even during AMD's heydays, Intel was better. In the eyes of the consumer.

I was rocking an Athlon Xp and bashing the P4 too back then. But lets face it, the P4 had a great marketing platform and it wowed the consumer with high MHz numbers and good benchmarks.

To claim Intel is where they are at today just because of " unfair practices " is a bit biased. Intel is a giant thats highly diversified. They have had the hottest CPU brand in over a year now, and AMD is showing no signs of repeating their previous glory when they were able to topple Goliath in the eyes of PC techies.

The broad PC consumer base aren't tuners and builders like us who always know the hottest CPU-o-the-month. In the eyes of the consumer, Intel WAS/IS better.

"If you can find a PS3 anywhere in North America that's been on shelves for more than five minutes, I'll give you 1,200 bucks for it." -- SCEA President Jack Tretton
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