RealTime IT News

Redmond Settles Another Antitrust Suit

Microsoft settled another antitrust lawsuit this week when it agreed to pay Korean ISP Daum $30 million and strike up a partnership arrangement with its former legal adversary.

The agreement resolves the companies' antitrust dispute in South Korea and includes a cash payment of $10 million, an advertising commitment valued at $10 million, plus other business terms estimated at approximately $10 million, according to Microsoft.

Daum also gets to shuttle its content on Microsoft's MSN network as part of marketing and promotional terms in the settlement.

The companies said the agreement encompasses all of its antitrust disputes, including the lawsuit brought by Daum against Microsoft in 2004, as well as the withdrawal of Daum's complaint to the Korean Fair Trade Commission in 2001.

"It is significant that we have reached this settlement with Microsoft on terms that we believe are favorable to Daum, and to be able to work together with Microsoft to build a new business partnership," Hyun-Young Kim, vice president of Daum, said in a statement.

In 2001, Daum alleged Microsoft was in breach of competition laws by bundling its instant messaging program with its Windows XP operating system.

Redmond has faced a series of competition challenges around the world in recent years, including RealNetworks, which also alleged antitrust violations by Microsoft in South Korea, regarding the bundling of MediaPlayer.

South Korea's Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) has reportedly been investigating charges that Microsoft has breached antitrust laws by bundling streaming video and instant messaging into Windows software.

Microsoft said it may be forced to withdraw its Windows software from the South Korean market if the country's antitrust agency orders it to unbundle its instant-messaging application and media player from the operating system.

Last month RealNetworks dropped its complaints in a number of countries following a $761m settlement last month.

However the South Korean Fair Trade Commission (FTC) has said it is investigating the alleged breaches.