Microsoft to Unveil 2 XP Versions in Korea

Racing to comply with a government imposed deadline, Microsoft will release later this week new versions of Windows XP for the South Korean market.

Designed exclusively for South Korea, the versions of Windows XP Home and Windows XP Professional are named Windows XP K and Windows XP KN, according to Microsoft.

The KN versions will ship within Korea without Windows Media Player and Windows Messenger bundled with the operating system, Matt Pilla, Microsoft’s PR Group Manager said in a statement.

The K version includes links to a Media Player Web site and a Messenger Center Web site, according to Pilla.

A version of Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2 KN, will also be available without Windows Media Services, Pilla said.

The multiple releases are in response to a Korean Fair Trade Commission (KFCT) antitrust ruling in December of last year fining Microsoft $32 million and ordering the company to offer two versions of XP by Aug. 24, relieving what regulators considered unfair competition with local software.

“Microsoft this week is releasing two manufacturing customized versions of Windows XP which have been developed to be compliant with the KFTC decision,” the software maker announced.

The KFTC denied Microsoft’s appeal of the 2005 decision. Although the software giant is appealing that denial to the Seoul High Court, Microsoft said it is releasing the two XP versions to ensure the Windows operating system is available to Koreans.

“Microsoft has put forth its best efforts to comply with the KFTC order,” Microsoft said in its statement.

Responding to the denial, Microsoft said the Korean antitrust demands for unbundling were “even more restrictive than those required by the European Commission.”

Last year, Microsoft released Windows XP N, a customized version of XP without Windows Media Player soon after European regulators fined the company $613 million for what they deemed anti-competitive behavior.

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