Korean IT companies hit by dawn raids
In April 2012, Korea’s Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) conducted a series of dawn raids targeting four multinational information technology companies.
The premises of Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Oracle and SAP were raided due to concerns of anti-competitive behaviour including abuse of dominance, discrimination, tie-in sales and the refusal to engage in transactions. In accordance with the KFTC’s 2012 business plan, the raids reflect the proposed increased scrutiny of the dominant players, in particular, concerns over monopolistic behaviour of multinational corporations, in the IT industry.
The KFTC has previously issued significant fines for anti-competitive conduct in this market. For example:
- In June 2008, Intel was fined €16.5 million for abusing its dominant position in the central processing unit (CPU) market in Korea and paid rebates to Samsung Electronics, Sambo Computer and other local PC manufacturers on the condition that they did not purchase CPUs from Intel’s competitor AMD, thereby excluding competitors from the domestic CPU market.
- In July 2009, the Commission fined Qualcomm US$208 million for using customer discounts and rebates to exclude competitors in the mobile phone chips market.