South Korean antitrust regulators have issued preliminary allegations against Intel for allegedly undermining competition in its PC microprocessor market, but formal charges won't be made for at least another month.
The Korean Fair Trade Commission (FTC) sent a "statement of objection" to Intel, which contained preliminary allegations, said Nick Jacobs, an Intel spokesman in Singapore. The document is not a final decision, nor has it been upheld by a court.
"It does not itself amount to a finding that there has been a violation of law," he said. "As such, any conclusions about our business practices are at best premature."
A senior deputy director at South Korea's FTC said the investigation against Intel remains ongoing.
The next step for the world's largest chip maker is to respond to the letter of objection, after which the FTC will rule on the case.
South Korea could become the third place to rule on an Intel antitrust case. In 2005, Japan's Fair Trade Commission helped kick off the recent spate of investigations against Intel by ruling that the company's Japan unit stifled competition by offering rebates to Japanese PC makers in return for agreements to limit purchases of or not buy rival x86 microprocessors. Earlier this year, the European Commission ruled similarly, alleging that Intel violated EU antitrust laws by giving rebates to customers that enabled the company to win sales from rival Advanced Micro Devices.
AMD filed an antitrust suit against Intel in June, 2005 at the U.S. District Court in Delaware, shortly after Japan's FTC revealed its allegations against the company.
"Following formal action in Japan and Europe, global scrutiny is increasingly focused on Intel's harm to competition and consumers alike. Governments around the world must enforce antitrust laws to bring fair and open competition that will benefit computer manufacturers and buyers everywhere," said Tom McCoy, AMD's executive vice president, legal affairs and chief administrative officer, in an e-mail.
(Ben Ames in Boston contributed to this report.)