AMD vs Intel spills over into Japan

Now AMD is suing Intel in Japan too, claiming its rival bought up AMD-based PCs just prior to a major processor launch and replaced them with Intel-based PCs

AMD's subsidiary in Japan has filed two lawsuits against Intel, claiming not just anti-competitive behaviour by its rival chipmaker, but in some cases down-right dirty tricks too.

In one incident cited by AMD, Intel allegedly bought all the AMD-based PCs destined to be used in a major event to promote new AMD processors, and replaced them with Intel-based PCs. AMD charges that Intel provided "a large amount of funds to this customer as an incentive to cooperate in this last-minute interference."

A representative with Intel was not immediately available to comment, but the world's largest chipmaker has publicly refuted claims made by AMD in a much larger lawsuit filed in the US on Monday.

AMD claimed in that suit that Intel imposed scare tactics and coercion on 38 companies, including large-scale computer makers, small system builders, wholesale distributors and retailers.

In one of the lawsuits filed in Japan, AMD is seeking $50m (£28m) in damages against Intel for what it says are violations of Japan's Antimonopoly Act.

The Tokyo High Court suit follows the Japanese Fair Trade Commission's findings in March that Intel's Japan subsidiary violated the Antimonopoly Act. The JFTC Recommendation concluded that Intel's Japanese subsidiary, Intel KK, interfered with AMD Japan's business activities by providing large amounts of funds to five Japanese PC manufacturers (NEC, Fujitsu, Toshiba, Sony, and Hitachi) on the condition that they refuse to purchase AMD processors.

AMD contends that as a result of these illegal acts it suffered serious damages, losing all of its sales to Toshiba, Sony, and Hitachi, while sales to NEC and Fujitsu "fell precipitously". The suit, filed in the Tokyo High Court follows Intel KK's acceptance of the JFTC Recommendation.

A second lawsuit filed at the Tokyo District Court level seeks to recover an unspecified amount of damages for what AMD says are anti-competitive acts that were not addressed by the JFTC recommendation.

AMD says that Intel instructed a Japanese PC manufacturer to remove all computer models using AMD chips from its product catalogue and Internet Web site, "in exchange for providing a large amount of funds to that manufacturer". Intel also, according to the lawsuit, put pressure on an AMD customer that was scheduled to attend a new product launch of AMD products. The customer eventually withdrew from the launch.