MS ANTITRUST - First hearing held in Korean case

Microsoft officials spoke Wednesday before a Korean antitrust committee investigating whether the company broke competition laws.

Microsoft representatives spoke Wednesday before a Korean antitrust committee investigating whether the company's bundling of certain programs with its Windows XP operating system broke competition laws.

The closed-door meeting marked the first hearing related to a complaint filed in September 2001 by Daum Communications, a Korean company that runs a popular Web portal, with the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC). The nine-member commission also heard a presentation from its own investigators.

Both sides requested another hearing, scheduled for Aug. 23, said Park Sang-yong, KFTC public information officer. Daum alleges that the combination of the Windows Messenger program with the XP operating system amounted to abuse of Microsoft's market position. RealNetworks, the developer of RealPlayer, also filed a complaint with the commission in October 2004 over

Microsoft's combination of its Media Player and Media Server programs with its operating system.

In April 2004, Daum filed a 10 billion won (AU$12.8 million) lawsuit, alleging that Microsoft was abusing its market dominance by shipping Windows XP with Messenger software. Two hearings have been held in that case, with no decision.

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