According to reports on the Yonhap news service, South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission (FTC) has completed its two year-long investigation into business practices of chipmaking giant Intel, and concluded that the company violated South Korean antitrust regulations. In particular, the FTC focused on rebates the chipmaker offered to computer manufacturers as a way to steer them away from products from rival companies like AMD.
The South Korean FTC is expected to decide next month what sanctions—if any—it will impose on Intel. The Korea Times cites sources saying the commission does plan to impose penalties on Intel; according to one source: "The FTC gained some evidence backing up suspicions that Intel has offered discounts to computer makers in exchange for sealing exclusive deals, and coerced dealers not to buy products from rivals such as Advanced Micro Devices."
A finding that Intel had violated South Korean antitrust laws would be a victory in AMD’s long-running claims that Intel had abused its position in the processor market to stifle competition. AMD is currently pursuing a mammoth antitrust case against Intel in the Unites States, although the elements of AMD’s arguments related to Intel’s international actions were disallowed by the trial judge. AMD is still free to bring antitrust allegations against Intel in other countries.
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