South Korea slaps Intel with $25 million antitrust fine

Posted on Friday, Jun 06 2008 @ 00:40 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
Bloomberg writes Intel was fined about 26 billion won ($25 million) by South Korea's antitrust regulator for anti-competitive business practices that prevented customers from buying AMD products.
Rebates to Samsung Electronics Co. and Trigem Computer Inc. breached antitrust rules, the Korea Fair Trade Commission said today in a statement. Intel will probably appeal the ruling, General Counsel Bruce Sewell said in a phone interview.

The verdict is a setback for Santa Clara, California-based Intel as it awaits a ruling from the European Union, where regulators can fine companies up to 10 percent of annual sales for antitrust breaches. In 2005, Japan forced Intel to remove clauses restricting Japanese computer makers from using rival chips. Intel has also been sued by Advanced Micro in the U.S.

``An investigation in Korea invariably has some effect on the outcome of investigations in the United States, in the EU and elsewhere,'' said Brendon Carr, a business attorney at the law firm of Hwang Mok Park in Seoul. ``Every domino that falls is a painful one for a global enterprise.''

Intel offered about $37 million in rebates over 2 1/2 years to Samsung and Trigem on the condition that they wouldn't buy from Advanced Micro, according to commission's statement.

The practice helped Intel's market share average at 91.3 percent in the five years ending in 2005 in Korea, higher than 79.6 percent globally, according to the statement.

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Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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