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Korea Sticks By Microsoft Antitrust Ruling

South Korea is proving another thorn in Microsoft’s side when it comes to antitrust rulings: Korea’s Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) today rejected an objection filed by Microsoft over an earlier antitrust ruling. Previously, the commission had found that Microsoft should unbundle its Windows Media software and instant messaging service from its Windows operating system.

In March 2006, Microsoft had asked the KFTC to vacate the ruling and forego a $34 million fine against the Redmond company. Late last year, Microsoft disclosed it would consider withdrawing Windows from the South Korean market (or delaying it) it the Korean FTC did not vacate its ruling to unbundle the services.

It’s not yet clear what impact the ongoing appeals process might have on the release of Windows Vista in Korea; Microsoft says it competes fairly in the Korean market and plans to continue its appeal process; the KFTC says that if Microsoft continues to bundle instant messaging and media products in Windows, it can and will take corrective action. South Korea is one of Microsoft’s ten largest markets for Microsoft globally, although more detailed sales figures aren’t available.