South Korean Authorities Raid Intel Offices

The move follows similar probes into anti-monopolistic practices.
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Korean authorities raided

Intel's

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offices earlier this week, as part of an investigation into whether the world's largest chipmaker violated the country's anti-monopoly rules.

The raid follows similar moves in Japan and the European Union during the past two years. The Korean raids are part of an investigation into Intel's business dealings with four South Korean PC makers. The Korean Fair Trade Commission also reportedly visited the computer makers' offices this week.

Intel spokesperson Chuck Mulloy confirmed that the Korean FTC paid an unscheduled visit to Intel's offices in Seoul on Tuesday morning during normal business hours. He said that Intel had been cooperating with the investigation and will continue to do so.

"At the end of the day we expect that the Korean FTC will conclude that our business practices are both fair and lawful," said Mulloy. He added that it's not unusual for a company as successful and as large as Intel to come under regulatory scrutiny. "It's happened before, it will likely happen again in the future," said Mulloy.

In March 2005, Japan's Fair Trade Commission concluded that Intel had violated Japan's anti-monopoly act. Intel did not admit wrongdoing in the case, but accepted the agency's remedy, which involved ceasing certain business practices.

Advanced Micro Devices

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, which issued a press release hailing the Korean Fair Trade Commission's recent actions, has sued Intel for alleged anticompetitive business practices. According to AMD's complaint, Intel has maintained its dominance in the market for x86 computer microprocessors by coercing PC makers from doing business with AMD.

"The dawn raids in Korea make it abundantly clear that competition authorities worldwide are intensifying their investigative efforts into Intel's anticompetitive business practices because they have good reason to believe evidence of illegal monopoly abuse is there to be found," said Thomas McCoy, AMD's head of legal affairs, in a statement.

"How many raids in how many countries need to happen before Intel accepts responsibility for its anticompetitive actions and ceases its unlawful business practices?" McCoy said.

Despite AMD's claims that it has been unfairly hampered by Intel's practices, AMD has recently made considerable gains. In January, AMD boasted that it increased its share of the PC market by nearly 6% during 2005.

Shares of Intel were up 2.27% to $21.14, in recent trading. AMD shares were up 1.57% to $41.50.