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Mon, Feb 27, 2006 - Page 12 News List

Microsoft plans to appeal S Korean anti-trust ruling

AFP , SEOUL

US software giant Microsoft Corp has said it will appeal a ruling by South Korea's anti-trust watchdog that it should strip popular software tools from its Windows operating systems.

On Friday South Korea's Fair Trade Commission (FTC) set Aug. 24 as the deadline for Microsoft to comply with its ruling.

"We will appeal this decision within 30 days and may request a stay," Microsoft Korea, a South Korean unit of Microsoft, said in a statement on its Web site, without specifying when it would lodge the appeal.

In Friday's final verdict, the FTC reaffirmed most of its preliminary ruling handed down two months ago while slightly revising downwards the fine on Microsoft to 32.4 billion won (US$33.5 million) from 33 billion won.

Last December, the anti-trust body ruled that Microsoft had abused its market dominance and violated fair trade rules by bundling software tools in Windows.

It ordered Microsoft to unbundle its Media Player and instant messaging tools from Windows software.

Microsoft must sell two versions of its Windows operating system -- one stripped of Media Player and Messenger, and the other carrying links to Web pages for downloading competing versions of such software.

Under South Korean laws, Microsoft must either comply with the FTC's decision within 180 days after its final ruling or appeal it within 30 days.

Microsoft has denied any wrongdoing.

"We continue to believe that the integration of media player and instant messaging capabilities in the Windows operating system is legal and has benefited millions of Korean consumers," it said in the statement.

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