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

“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. .

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