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Tokyo court orders release of evidence in AMD suit

Posted: 20 Dec 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Advanced Micro Devices? AMD? Intel?

In a possible turn of events in the suit by Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) against Intel Corp., the Tokyo District Court said last week (Dec. 16) it would require the Fair Trade Commission of Japan (JFTC) to release evidence obtained during its investigation of Intel K.K.

The evidence, discovered in raids of Intel K.K. offices as well as major Japanese OEM manufacturers in April 2004, formed the basis of the JFTC's recommendation against Intel. Legal counsel for AMD Japan intends to use JFTC's evidence as part of its law suit against Intel in Japan, filed June 30th, 2005.

That suit follows an antitrust suit AMD filed against Intel in the U.S. District Court in Delaware June 28. The suit alleges Intel has been operating an unlawful monopoly in the x86 microprocessor market and coerced computer makers, distributors, small system builders and retailers in their dealings with AMD.

At press time, Intel has not commented on the Tokyo District Court's action. In the past, the semiconductor supplier has steadfastly maintained that its business practices are fair and lawful, and that AMD's suit is an example of "legal dissonance."

Friday's ruling was issued at the conclusion of a hearing in which counsel for both AMD Japan and Intel addressed the production of documents collected by the JFTC during its year-long investigation into Intel for violating Japan's Antimonopoly Act.

"Today's court ruling sends the message that the truth about Intel's illegal monopoly abuse will soon see the light of day," said Thomas M. McCoy, AMD executive vice president, legal affairs and chief administrative officer, in a statement. "We thank the court for its sound decision, and we believe that it sends a clear message worldwide that Intel cannot hope to hide the truth about its anti-competitive business practices any longer; not from the law or from consumers everywhere who deserve to know the facts."

McCoy continued, "We believe the JFTC's evidence will show what people inside our industry already know wellthat Intel abuses its monopoly position to threaten and intimidate OEMs not to do business with AMD."

The JFTC has been on warpath against Intel for months. On March 8, 2005, the JFTC found that Intel abused its monopoly power to exclude fair and open competition, violating Section 3 of Japan's Antimonopoly Act. The findings revealed that Intel used coercive, illegal tactics to stop AMD's growing success and increasing market share, which reached 22 percent in 2002, by imposing limitations on Japanese PC makers.

The JFTC recommendation culminates an 11-month investigation that has established patterns of anti-consumer and anti-competitive behavior. The commission found that, because of AMD's inroads into Intel's market share, Intel deliberately set out to artificially limit AMD by imposing conditions on five Japanese manufacturers (later revealed to be NEC Corp., Toshiba Corp., Hitachi Ltd, Sony Corp. and Fujitsu Ltd) that together represented 77 percent of all CPUs sold in Japan.

Consequently, the JFTC imposed a number of restrictions on Intel. Among them, Intel must notify its customers and educate its employees that it may no longer provide rebates and other funds to Japanese computer manufacturers on conditions that exclude competitors' CPUs.

Intel accepted the JFTC's restrictions.

Investigations into Intel's business practices by the European Commission and the Fair Trade Commission of Korea for violations similar to those found in Japan by the JFTC remain ongoing.

- Spencer Chin
EE Times

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