by CIO Staff

Microsoft Appeals Korea Antitrust Ruling

Mar 27, 20062 mins

Microsoft on Monday filed an appeal to the Seoul High Court in South Korea seeking to reverse a decision by the country’s antitrust regulators that included an order to offer versions of its popular Windows operating system without its Media Player and Instant Messenger software.

“The appeal is a lawsuit seeking revocation of the [Korea Fair Trade Commission’s] decision,” said Microsoft in a statement. The company said it has not broken South Korean law, and formally requested the decision be reconsidered.

In December, South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) fined Microsoft 33 billion won (US$34 million) and ordered several remedies by the world’s largest software maker, including offering two versions of Windows in the country: one without Media Player and Instant Messenger, and another that includes links to websites offering rival software.

“The restrictions imposed by the KFTC are more extreme than those required by the European Commission. Unlike in Europe, Microsoft would no longer be able to offer in Korea the existing version of Windows that is available everywhere else in the world,” Microsoft said.

The company added that the KFTC’s decision would create “complexities” for Korean PC hardware and software manufacturers and “erode their competitiveness in the global market.”

An English-speaking spokesperson for the Korea Fair Trade Commission was unavailable.

The KFTC’s decision followed a 21-month investigation into Microsoft’s business practices sparked by a complaint over messaging software from South Korean Internet portal operator Daum Communications filed in 2001 and a separate case by RealNetworks regarding audio and video software in 2004.

Microsoft last year settled with Daum in a package valued at US$30 million, while it paid RealNetworks US$761 million in an out-of-court deal.

-Dan Nystedt, IDG News Service

This article is posted on our Microsoft Informer page. For more news on the Redmond, Wash.-based powerhouse, keep checking in.

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