Antitrust Lawyer Blog Commentary on Current Developments

Korean Antitrust Authorities Reject Microsoft Objection

On May 23, the South Korean Fair Trade Commission (“KFTC”) rejected an objection lodged by Microsoft in March over a ruling that the company should unbundle its media player and messaging service from Windows software, echoing a similar decision made by the European Commission in 2004 that it unbundled its media player and messaging program in its European software packages. In December 2005, the KFTC fined Microsoft approximately $34.3 million, the largest fine ever imposed on a foreign firm.
Starting on August 24, 2006, Microsoft will be required to sell two versions of its software, one without the bundled media player and messaging service, and one with the bundle, but with links to pages that offer similar programs. Microsoft is in the process of appealing the decision in the Seoul High Court, although it is not clear whether it will receive a decision by the August deadline.