Microsoft could take Windows from Korea on antitrust move

Microsoft has threatened to withdraw Windows from South Korea if the country’s antitrust agency forces the company to remove its Instant Messenger and Media Player from the operating system.

South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) has been investigating Microsoft over allegations that the company has breached antitrust laws by offering the services as built-in components of Windows, according to Reuters.

If the KFTC decide that Microsoft has carried out anti-competitive practices the agency could order the software giant to redesign Windows.

‘If the KFTC enters an order requiring Microsoft to remove code or redesign Windows uniquely for the Korean market, it might be necessary to withdraw Windows from the Korean market or delay offering new versions in Korea,’Microsoft said in a US regulatory filing.

A spokesperson for KFTC has said that a ruling could be made next Wednesday.

‘No matter what Microsoft does, we will proceed with our deliberation and discuss it again at a plenary session on Wednesday,’ KFTC’s Lee Tae-hwi told Reuters, ‘There is no change in our stance to fight unfair business practices.’

The probe was launched after South Korean Internet portal Daum Communications made a complaint about Microsoft’s business conduct in 2001.

Microsoft was also criticised by a US judge this week for breaching an antitrust settlement approved in 2002. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly demanded an explanation for an attempt by Microsoft to force portable music player manufacturers to tie their devices to its Windows Media software. The US Justice Department is set to make a recommendation that the company gives legal training to its employees.

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