RealTime IT News

Intel's Seoul Office Raided

The Korean Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) made an unscheduled visit to Intel's offices in Seoul, South Korea, as part of its investigation into possible violations of that country's Monopoly Regulation and Fair Trade Act.

The KFTC is looking into Intel's business dealings with four South Korean PC makers.

Intel spokesman Chuck Molloy said the visit by Korean regulators is a continuation of an investigation started in June and that the company has and continues to cooperate with authorities.

He also disputed AMD's repeated claims in a company release that there was a "dawn raid" of Intel's office.

"It was an unscheduled visit to our offices during business hours. They asked for certain documents and information and we cooperated," Molloy told internetnews.com.

"This is not a new investigation by any stretch," Molloy continued. "When you're as successful as Intel is, it's not unusual for us to come under regulatory scrutiny. We conclude our business practices are fair and lawful."

He would not disclose details of what information the regulators are after, other than to say it relates to Intel's sales and marketing practices. An AMD spokesman said documents and hard drives were taken from the Intel facility.

Authorities raided Intel offices in Europe and Japan last year in search of evidence related to charges of anti-competitive monopolistic practices.

"Similar dawn raids conducted by competition authorities in Japan revealed evidence of illegal business practices that violated that country's Antimonopoly Act," said Thomas M. McCoy, AMD executive vice president, legal affairs in a statement. "The JFTC ruled that Intel conditioned deals with Japanese PC OEMs based on excluding competition.

Intel did not contest the JFTC ruling, though it denied any wrongdoing.

In the U.S., Intel issued a lengthy rebuttal to the U.S. District Court in Delaware that claimed AMD's problems in gaining market share are largely the result of its own incompetence and unreliability as a supplier.

Coincidentally, AMD CEO Hector Ruiz testified before Congress today during hearings today on U.S. competitiveness.

Citing the results of a recent AMD-commissioned study, Ruiz told committee members that brand-name specifications in government procurement contracts for computer hardware (for example, Intel processors versus x86 or more generic designations) have potentially cost American taxpayers upwards of $563 million.

Ruiz asserted that the U.S. government should adopt performance-based specifications in federal procurement contracts.

UPDATE: An earlier lead in this story, which implied AMD initiated the KFTC's action, has been deleted. AMD said it had not filed a complaint and had nothing to do with the KFTC's action. .