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Intel Accepts Order To Stop Unfair Trade Practices In Japan

Intel Corp. said it is accepting a recommendation from the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) to stop unfair trade practices in the Japanese market.
Earlier this month, Intel criticized a "recommendation" from the JFTC relating to Intel's business practices, sent to its subsidiary Intel K.K. Advanced Micro Devices Inc. praised the recommendation and called for other regions to punish Intel.

Intel did not specifically refer to the recommendations in a statement, but according to reports Intel has been told to take certain incentive clauses out of sales contracts for its microprocessors. Intel had approximately ten days to respond to the recommendation (see March 8 story).

Intel's Japanese unit won a two-week extension to reply to allegations of antitrust violations (see March 18 story).

In a statement, AMD praised Japanese regulators. "It is unfortunate that even when presented with specific — and very disturbing — findings of deliberate and systematic anticompetitive behavior, Intel refuses to face the facts and admit the harm it has caused to competitors and consumers," Thomas McCoy, AMD executive vice president, legal affairs and chief administrative officer, said in a statement.

"Although Intel's willingness to comply with the JFTC recommendation is a step in the right direction, it has conspicuously failed to either accept responsibility for its actions or acknowledge that competition is best served when customers and consumers have a choice," he said.

Intel has settled with government regulators in the past to avoid lengthy public antitrust fights, including a 1999 settlement with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. Intel decided a lengthy antitrust fight wasn't worth the potential damage to its brand name, said Yoshihisa Toyosaki, president of iSuppli Japan. "If it rejected the recommendation and the dispute with JFTC continued, Intel's brand would be damaged." Toyosaki said PC makers also wanted a quick resolution to the dispute so that they can continue to use Intel products.

Meanwhile, European antitrust enforcers continue to probe Intel's sales practices in the much larger European market.

— Yoshiko Hara in Tokyo contributed to this report.

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