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Microsoft appeals South Korean anti-trust ruling

Restrictions 'extreme', MS says

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Microsoft today filed an appeal with the Seoul High Court, seeking the revocation of a December ruling by the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) that the software giant had infringed competition rules.

The KFTC found in December that Microsoft had acted in breach of anti-trust rules by tying its media service and media player to the Windows server and PC operating systems. The regulator fined Microsoft around £15m.

The firm was also ordered to offer two versions of the Windows PC operating system – one entirely stripped of the media player and instant messaging software, and another containing a "Media Player Centre" and "Messenger Centre", linking to web pages that allow competing products to be downloaded.

Microsoft has now appealed.

"The facts do not support the KFTC's position. Consumers can easily download and use a wide range of software from many different companies," Jae Hoon Chung, Korea senior attorney for Microsoft, said.

"In fact, market data from Korean Click show that Korean consumers use multiple media players and instant messenger clients. New instant messaging services and media players such as NateOn Messenger and GOM Player are flourishing in Korea."

Microsoft believes the restrictions imposed by the KFTC are more extreme than those required by the European Commission in a March 2004 anti-trust ruling.

It says that, unlike in Europe, the firm would no longer be able to offer in Korea the existing version of Windows that is available everywhere else in the world. It warns that the KFTC’s decision would create complexities for Korean hardware and software manufacturers in a way that would erode their competitiveness in the global market.

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