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Microsoft gives Japanese watchdog the brushoff

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Never one to let a government agency push it around, Microsoft has politely declined to follow the Japanese Fair Trade Commission's (JFTC) request that it alter sales practices when dealing with Japanese PC makers.

"Microsoft Corporation received a Recommendation from the Japanese Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) on July 13, 2004, finding that Microsoft is in contravention of Japan’s Antimonopoly Act," Microsoft said in a statement. "After careful examination of the contents of the Recommendation, Microsoft has decided that it is unable to accept the demands of the Recommendation, and has today informed the JFTC of this decision."

Microsoft's Tokyo offices were raided earlier this year when the JFTC went searching for evidence of uncomfortable business practices. In particular, the JFTC is concerned that PC makers are forced to agree they will not sue Microsoft over patent issues as part of the Windows licensing agreement.

"The JFTC Recommendation finds that Microsoft has, when licensing its Windows operating system to PC makers, imposed undue restrictions on their business activities, and as such, is in breach of Article 19 of the Antimonopoly Act," Microsoft said. "However, Microsoft believes that the licensing contracts concerned are not in violation of any of the Antimonopoly Act, and as such has decided not to accept the JFTC’s Recommendation."

Microsoft has altered new contracts to comply with the JFTC but does not want to change past deals. The company will now have to go through an appeals process and "looks forward to explaining its views."

Such a gentle beast. ®

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