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Intel granted extension in Japan FTC case

The chip giant will now have until April 1 to either accept the recommendations by the agency or challenge them in court.

Facing allegations of antitrust violations in Japan, chip giant Intel requested and received on Thursday a two-week extension to respond to recommendations by Japan's Fair Trade Commission.

Intel will now have until April 1 to either accept the recommendations by the Japan FTC or challenge them in court, said Chuck Mulloy, an Intel spokesman.

The agency is alleging that Intel attempted to reduce competition in Japan by offering rebates to Japanese PC makers in exchange for their agreement not to use competitors' chips, or to at least limit the use of competitors' chips.

Japan's FTC has recommended that Intel's Japan unit cease and desist from such activities, which allegedly involved five Japanese PC makers: Fujitsu, Hitachi, NEC, Sony and Toshiba. The agency, however, is not seeking any monetary penalty.

"We asked for an extension to continue our evaluation of their recommendations," Mulloy said, declining to specify which areas of the recommendations the chip giant was focusing on.

It's not unheard of for companies to ask for extensions from Japan's FTC, but it is not a common occurrence, said Hiroshi Yamada, a director and spokesman for the Japanese agency.

"If an adequate reason is given, we will grant extensions," he said, noting that Intel indicated more time was needed for the company's review of the lengthy document.

Although the Japan FTC shares information and cooperates with antitrust agencies in other countries, Yamada noted that the European Commission and U.S. Federal Trade Commission have not asked for any documents from this particular case.

Yamada noted that his agency's case focused only on Intel's operations in Japan and not in any other country.