Microsoft appeals Korea antitrust ruling

Microsoft Corp. on Monday filed an appeal to the Seoul High Courtin South Korea seeking to reverse a decision by the country’santitrust regulators that included an order to offer versions ofits popular Windows operating system without its Media Player andInstant Messenger software.

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

In December, South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) finedMicrosoft 33 billion won (US$34 million) and ordered severalremedies by the world’s largest software maker, including offeringtwo versions of Windows in the country, one without Media Playerand Instant Messenger and another that includes links to Web sitesoffering rival software.

“The restrictions imposed by the KFTC are more extreme than thoserequired by the European Commission. Unlike in Europe, Microsoftwould no longer be able to offer in Korea the existing version ofWindows that is available everywhere else in the world,” Microsoftsaid.

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

An English speaking spokesperson for the Korea Fair TradeCommission was unavailable.

The KFTC’s decision followed a 21-month investigation intoMicrosoft’s business practices sparked by a complaint overmessaging software from South Korean Internet portal operator DaumCommunications Corp. filed in 2001 and a separate case byRealNetworks Inc. regarding audio and video software in 2004.

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

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