AMD takes Intel fight to Japan

Chipmaker bases new suits on findings made by Japan's Fair Trade Commission and seeks $50 million in damages.

Advanced Micro Devices extended the breadth of its antitrust fight against Intel by filing two claims with courts in Japan on Thursday.

The suits submitted to the Tokyo High Court and the Tokyo District Court pertain only to the Japanese subsidiaries: AMD Japan and Intel K.K., respectively. The complaints seek damages of about $50 million (about 5.5 billion yen) and are based on findings made in March by Japan's Fair Trade Commission. AMD said it is alleging anticompetitive behavior in the marketing of PCs and servers in Japan.

"These acts represent only the tip of the iceberg of Intel's worldwide coercion of customers to prevent them from doing business with AMD Japan," AMD said in a statement.

A representative with Intel was not immediately available to comment, but the No. 1 chipmaker has publicly dismissed AMD's claims.


Paul Otellini
CEO, Intel

Intel CEO Paul Otellini issued a statement Wednesday saying his company, "has always respected the laws of the countries in which it operates."

Earlier this week, AMD filed an antitrust lawsuit against Intel in U.S. District Court in Delaware. In both the United States and Japan, AMD alleges Intel is using monopolistic business practices.

The 48-page complaint filed in the U.S. suit details alleged scare tactics and coercion that AMD claims Intel imposed on 38 companies, including large-scale computer makers, small system builders, wholesale distributors and retailers. The complaint quotes former Compaq Computer CEO Michael Capellas as saying he felt he had a gun to his head. The complaint also states that Gateway executives worried that Intel would beat them into "guacamole." (Click here for a PDF of the complaint.)

In Japan, AMD claims Intel asked a PC manufacturer to remove AMD-based products from its catalog and Web site in exchange for a "large amount of funds."

In a second example, AMD accuses Intel's Japanese subsidiary of meddling with one of its promotional events. Just before the event, AMD alleges, Intel supposedly bought all the PCs that had AMD processors and replaced them with PCs using Intel processors.

Previous complaints from AMD helped spark the investigation by Japan's Fair Trade Commission.

The Japanese agency raided Intel's Japan offices in 2004 and came to the conclusion that the chipmaker's local unit had stifled competition by offering rebates to five Japanese PC makers--Fujitsu, Hitachi, NEC, Sony and Toshiba--that agreed not to buy or to limit their purchases of chips made by AMD and Transmeta. Intel agreed to comply with the agency's recommendations but said it did not agree with the ruling.

Additionally, the European Commission is investigating Intel's marketing techniques.

Worldwide, Intel processors account for more than 80 percent of the computers running x86-based chips, according to market research company IDC. The percentage is even higher in Japan.

IDC researchers say that AMD's market share in Japan has dipped, going from 16 percent in 2002 to 14 percent in 2003 and 2004.

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