Intel: abusive monopolists — us?

From Good Morning, SiliconValley

It’s been almost a year since Japan’s Fair Trade Commission raided Intel’s offices in Tokyo looking for evidence that the company illegally pressured computer-makers to use its microchips. Now, it seems the katana has finally fallen. Over the weekend, the commission, which enforces the country’s Anti-Monopoly Law, ruled that Intel’s Japanese subsidiary stifled competition by offering rebates and discounts to five Japanese PC makers on condition that they agreed either not to buy or to limit their purchases of chips made by rivals AMD and Transmeta. “In this case, a company with a dominant market position squeezed out rivals by doing business with the five major PC makers on condition of not using competitors’ chips,” a JFTC official told reporters. Intel, for its part, says it did nothing of the sort, although that is difficult to believe when the combined Japan market share of AMD and Transmeta dropped from 24 percent to 11 percent during the period in question, while Intel’s rose from 76 percent to 89 percent. In any event, the company has 10 days to decide whether to appeal the order, and if it does, the case would go through the commission’s judicial review process.