South Korea’s antitrust watchdog said Thursday that it plans to send software giant Microsoft a formal notice of its violation of the nation’s fair trade rules by early next week at the latest.
On Dec. 7, the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) fined Microsoft 33 billion won ($33.8 million) for bundling its Media Player program and MSN instant messenger into its near-ubiquitous personal computer operating system Windows.
“We plan to deliver the notice to Microsoft as early as this weekend or by early next week at the latest,” the watchdog said.
After receiving the notice, Microsoft has 180 days to start shipping Windows in two new versions in Korea:
The commission ordered Microsoft to provide two separate versions of Windows: one stripped of the Windows Media Player and Windows Messenger, and the other carrying links to Web pages that allow consumers to download competing versions of such software from Aug. 24, 2006.
The Korea Fair Trade Commission report released today is one step in a long legal process, and we believe the facts will show that Microsoft’s actions have respected Korean law. It is important to note that this is not a new decision; this is simply the written report of the decision announced by the KFTC last December.
We continue to believe that the integration of media player and instant messaging capabilities in the Windows® operating system is legal and has benefited millions of Korean consumers.
The restrictions proposed by the KFTC are different and even more than those required by the European Commission. Under the KFTC restrictions, Microsoft would need to develop and distribute two new versions of Windows for Korea, including a version that has significant features removed. It remains difficult to understand how Korean consumers would benefit from such a product.
We will appeal this decision within 30 days and may request a stay.
I suppose they have to fight this to try to head off every jurisdiction that wants to mandate its own version of Windows, but surely there must be a temptation to create two new SKUS and let them sit on the shelves like Windows XP N.