Microsoft abandons appeal of Korean antitrust ruling

Microsoft says it will halt its appeal of an antitrust ruling against it in South Korea.

Microsoft has filed a request to withdraw its appeal of a South Korean antitrust ruling against the company, Microsoft said this week.

Microsoft is seeking to withdraw the appeal in the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) case against the company. "Because the matter is pending before the court we cannot comment further on the status of the case at this time," Microsoft said in a statement.

The company "remains committed" to the South Korean market and will "work closely with KFTC to ensure that Korean consumers benefit from vibrant competition in the IT industry," Microsoft added.

In July 2006, the Seoul High Court rejected a Microsoft appeal to delay the implementation of penalties imposed by the KFTC. Microsoft's appeal of the KFTC's orders had continued with the high court.

The KFTC ruled in 2005 that Microsoft violated the country's fair trade regulations, and ordered the company to pay a fine of 33 billion Korean won (US$36 million). The KFTC ordered Microsoft to offer two versions of its Windows XP operating system in the country, one without Windows Media Player and Windows Messenger and another with links to Web sites offering rival software.

Korea's investigation of Microsoft came after two rivals filed complaints against it.

Daum Communications, a Korean company with a popular Web portal, said in 2001 that Microsoft's inclusion of Messenger with its operating system harmed Daum's business and caused it unspecified damages. Three years later, RealNetworks, the developer of the RealPlayer media program, complained about Microsoft's combination of its Windows Media Player and Media Server programs.

Microsoft later settled with both companies. Daum received a package worth US$30 million in November 2005. A month later, RealNetworks struck a deal worth US$761 million to settle its legal complaints in Korea and elsewhere.

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Grant Gross

IDG News Service
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