updated 09:55 am EDT, Fri June 6, 2008
Intel faces $25.4m fine
Yesterday's reports (registration required) see chipmaker Intel slapped with a $25.4 million fine in South Korea. The Korea Fair Trade Commission concluded the country's antitrust laws were broken by Intel's offer of $37 million in rebates between 2002 and 2005 to PC makers Samsung and Trigem (Averatec) in exchange for avoiding AMD chips. Intel's legal representatives say the decision will likely be appealed, arguing its rebates reflect simple volume discounts.
The company's antitrust breaches are not confined to South Korea, also drawing the interest of New York courts as far back as January. Japanese and European antitrust powers are also investigating the chipmaker's business practices, which are said to prevent fair competition by discouraging non-exclusive deals. Competitor AMD argues Intel sells its chips at prices they and others cannot match.
Closer to home, AMD and Intel will undergo court proceedings in a private antitrust suit AMD filed in 2005. Some Intel shareholders are joining AMD's suit, which also argues Intel isn't cooperating in production emails to be used as evidence in the case. When Intel finally does find the missing emails, which it vowed to do, AMD is expected to ask courts for a sanction against Intel. Both are also disputing the number of depositions required for the complaint: Intel wants 75, while AMD wants to ask over 400 people to testify.
The case is to be heard in court on April of next year, though sources reportedly close to the case believe it will be delayed.