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Monday, March 27, 2006
Microsoft Appeals South Korean Antitrust Ruling

Microsoft appealed on Monday a South Korean ruling that would oblige the software maker to unbundle its media player and messaging service from its Windows software.

Microsoft was ordered in December by South Korea's antitrust regulator to make the separation or allow embedding of competitors' products on its system.

"Microsoft today filed an appeal with the Seoul High Court to review the decision in the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) case against Microsoft," the company said in a statement.

The U.S. firm said its bundled version benefitted consumers and the local technology industry, and did not block rival spftware makers because South Koreans could already download easily and use a wide range of software from many other firms.

Korea's Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) issued a written report of the ruling, which also fined Microsoft 32.5 billion won ($33.3 million), in late February.

Microsoft was given 30 days to appeal. The commission began a probe into Microsoft more than four years ago complaints were filed by South Korean Internet portal Daum Communications Corp. The investigation was pursued even after Daum and U.S.-based RealNetworks Inc. settled with Microsoft last year.

"The appeal is a lawsuit seeking revocation of the KFTC's decision based on the law and facts in the case. The company has also requested reconsideration of the decision by the KFTC," Microsoft said in the statement.

The ruling, which resembles a 2004 European Commission decision, found Microsoft in breach of antitrust laws with its version of Windows that incorporated its media player and instant messaging services, impeding competition.

In this previous case also, Microsoft was ordered to separate its Windows media service from its server operating system, which forced Microsoft to stop selling its existing version of Windows and release a new one.

"The restrictions imposed by the KFTC are more extreme than those required by the European Commission. Microsoft looks forward to presenting its position and is hopeful that its appeal will be successful," added Microsoft in its statement.

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