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Ruling on MS Bundling Case to be Decided Shortly

Posted April. 13, 2005 23:09,   


Microsoft’s (MS) case for bundling programs with its Windows operating system sales will be presented to the Fair Trade Commission’s (FTC) general meeting in time, drawing attention to whether or not it will be ruled to have violated the Fair Trade Act.

On Wednesday, April 13, FTC Chairman Kang Chul-kyu said at an interview with “edaily,” an online medium for economic news, regarding this matter, “The examination report is in its final step, and it seems possible for FTC to deliberate eventually.”

In 2001, Korea’s Daum Communications filed a lawsuit to the FTC against MS, saying that “bundling the internet instant messaging program MSN Messenger with the Windows operating system is violating the fair trade regulations.”

Last year, RealNetworks, a U.S. audio and video software provider, lodged a complaint on account of MS bundling Media Player with its Windows operating system.

Chairman Kang said, “We are examining into similar cases in other areas such as the European Union (EU) and the U.S. to judge this matter.”

Complaints have already been filed against MS in the U.S. and EU for bundling the Internet Explorer and Media Player respectively, in which the U.S. ruled in favor while EU ruled against MS.

Chairman Kang also stated, “A mid-evaluation examining the market and business reform situation will be conducted this year and next, and with the final evaluation in 2007, the matter to abolish policies set for large enterprises, including the rule restricting the total amount of shareholdings in other companies, will be decided.”

Regarding Hite Brewery’s takeover of Jinro, he prudently said, “Whether or not there is a limited competition will be the key basis. Since there has to be an overall consideration into the matter including the market range, and the replacement of ‘soju’ with beer, the result is unpredictable.”

Hite Brewery requested the pre-merger examination to the FTC on Wednesday afternoon.

The FTC plans to conclude if there was indeed a monopoly and oligopoly in 30 days, and extend the examination to 90 days if necessary.

Chi-Young Shin higgledy@donga.com