South Korea Rejects Microsoft’s Appeal

South Korea’s High Court is Microsoft’s last resort in its bid to overturn an antitrust ruling handed down by the Korean Fair Trade Commission (KFTC).

Yesterday, the KFTC rejected Microsoft’s appeal of a ruling
requiring the software giant two versions of its operating system, and now Microsoft looks to the High Court.

“Microsoft will continue to defend its position in the case through
the appeal process in the Seoul High Court,” a spokesperson told

If the company’s final appeal is rebuffed by the High Court, it must
begin offering South Korean consumers two versions of the Windows
operating system after Aug. 24.

In its appeal, launched in March, the software
giant intimated in a statement it may pull out
of the market, saying Microsoft “would no longer be able to offer in
Korea the existing version of Windows” available elsewhere.

Because the original ruling was made by the KFTC only a
few months ago, today’s decision was not surprising, Matt Rosoff,
analyst with Directions on Microsoft, told

Microsoft could have better luck with the higher court. “That’s the
appeal that has a chance of succeeding,” Rosoff said.

South Korea’s original ruling requires two versions of the Windows
operating system — one without Windows Media Player and Windows
Messenger and one with links to third-party media and IM software.

Microsoft claims the bundling has benefited Korean consumers, as well
as being consistent with the country’s laws.

While Microsoft in a statement contended the KFTC demands
were “even more restrictive than those required by the European Commission,” Korean regulators believe bundling applications with
the popular operating system hurt local software developers.

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