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Japan orders Microsoft to change OEM licenses

MS may appeal

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Japan's Fair Trade Commission (FTC) has ordered Microsoft to remove restrictive clauses from OEM contracts with PC vendors and to ensure that it does not add such restrictive clauses again. But it is not fining the software giant, which has until 26 July to appeal the decision

One would think that Microsoft would take this one on the chin. In February, the firm said it was removing the contentious clause, in which PC makers must sign away all rights to sue Microsoft over Windows if they are to pre-install Windows software on their machines, at the end of this year. It made its announcement, following a raid on its Tokyo offices by FTC officials, seeking evidence that the firm had breached Japan's anti-monopoly laws.

But no, it looks like there is a principle at stake. And Microsoft is fighting the FTC.

In a marvellously polite statement Microsoft Japan said: "We respectfully disagree with the conclusions reached by the JFTC at this stage of the process, and will avail ourselves of the mechanism set out in the law and regulations to seek a review of this decision,"

If it goes to court, a decision is likely in two to three years. ®

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