Japan antitrust watchdog bites Intel

Intel's Japan unit tried to stifle competition by offering unfair rebates to PC makers, the country's antitrust watchdog said Tuesday in a warning to the chip giant.

The warning was the Japanese Fair Trade Commission's second such action against a computer industry giant. It follows a similar move against Microsoft last July. Intel, the world's biggest chipmaker, immediately disputed the warning, which came with no monetary penalty. After the FTC's announcement, the European Commission said it is continuing to investigate Intel for possible antitrust violations, in cooperation with Japanese authorities.

Japan's watchdog said the Intel unit stifled competition by offering rebates to five Japanese PC makers that agreed either to not buy or to limit their purchases of chips made by Intel rivals Advanced Micro Devices and Transmeta. The FTC said such practices had been going on since May 2002 after the inflow into Japan of low-priced PCs heated up competition in the domestic market.

News source: ZDNet.com

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