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February 8, 2006

Kissinger, Congressmen lobby for Microsoft in Korea

Posted by David Hunter at 9:17 AM ET.

Bloomberg News:

Henry Kissinger, former U.S. secretary of state, lobbied South Korean regulators not to punish Microsoft regarding antitrust rules, the head of Korea’s Fair Trade Commission said Tuesday.

Before a December antitrust ruling in South Korea, Kissinger faxed a letter to the chairman of the commission, Kang Chul Kyu, saying that punishing Microsoft would “hurt everyone,” the commission’s spokesman, Park Sang Yong, said, confirming comments Kang made at a luncheon on Tuesday.

Kang also said that after the commission ruled against Microsoft, four members of the U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade protesting the verdict that Microsoft had breached antitrust rules, Park said.

Frankly, this is business as usual. Microsoft apparently asked for some help when the Korean antitrust case got hot in December and the Korean FTC imposed fines and mandated two separate Korean versions of Windows. Kissinger has lobbied for other companies and the US Department of Justice also weighed in on Microsoft’s behalf.

There’s more from Kim Tae-gyu at The Korea Times:

The U.S. government also came under criticism here last year when the nation dispatched multiple officials at the Department of Justice to the FTC when investigation on Microsoft was underway.

Kang added that the anti-trust agency did not bow to such all-out onslaughts and made a neutral decision.

Meanwhile, FTC spokesman Park Sang-yong said the letters cannot be regarded as pressure.

“In the United States, the lobbying culture is usual. The letters that asked to consider ripple effects of the ruling must be understand in the context. It was just a lobby, not pressure,” Park claimed.

Filed under Antitrust, General Business, Governmental Relations, Legal

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