Tue, Feb 25, 2003 - Page 10 News List

Microsoft about to test trade officials with a propositon

STAFF WRITER WITH AFP

Microsoft Corp is formulating a proposal in a bid to resolve unfair-business-practice allegations, Fair Trade Commission vice chairman Chen Chi-yuan (陳紀元) said yesterday.

The world's beiggest software maker is expected to present the deal to the commission today, Chen said.

The commission is scheduled to hold a meeting on Thursday to decide whether the Microsoft offer is acceptable, he said.

Negotiations were concluded over the weekend on Microsoft's request for a settlement on the dispute which centers on its alleged manipulation of pricing in an effort to dominate the local market.

The commission began its probe last May, with the investigation originallly focusing on the allegation that Microsoft had been forcing local customers to buy accompanying products with some purchases.

The commission has also sought to investigate whether Microsoft has abused its near monopoly position for PC operating systems to ramp up local prices.

"During negotiations with Microsoft, both sides had showed a sincere desire to resolve the dispute," Chen said. "But, whether the case will be settled depends on the results of Thursday's meeting."

Chen said that the commission will only be considering what is in the public's best interest.

Zoe Cherng (程文燕), a Microsoft Taiwan spokesman, said the company had no comment at the moment. "We can say nothing about the proposal until the commission issues a ruling," Cherng said.

But she confirmed that Will Poole, senior vice president of the company's new media division, is scheduled to visit Taiwan today. Poole is likely to meet with representatives of the local information-technology sector, she said.

Poole's visit to Taiwan has nothing to do with the commission's probe, Cherng ssaid.

"The visit is just part of Microsoft's routine operations," she said.

During the probe, Microsoft has said that it would set up a technology center here. Local lawmakers had criticized the US-based corporation for attempting to use the center offer as a way to influence trade-commission officials.

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