South Korea’s government antitrust body heard from Microsoft Corp. officials at a hearing Tuesday regarding complaints that the company’s Windows software violated competition rules.
It marked the second meeting of the nine-member Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) over two complaints filed against Microsoft. A further session will be held Wednesday, and commissioners will continue hearing from Microsoft, said Kim Shin-young, an official with the KFTC.
The first complaint was filed in September 2001 by Daum Communications Corp., a Korean company that runs a popular Web portal and has its own instant messaging software. Daum alleges that Microsoft abused its dominant position in the desktop operating systems market by bundling its MSN Messenger software with Windows XP, causing the Korean company unspecified losses.
RealNetworks, Inc., the developer of RealPlayer, also filed a complaint with the commission, in October 2004, over Microsoft’s combination of its Media Player and Media Server programs with its operating systems.
The KFTC plans to review the complaints from both Daum and RealNetworks on Aug. 29, Kim said. No decision is expected until after further meetings have been held in September, he said.
Given the complexity of the case, KFTC officials have said it is not unusual that a decision has not been reached despite four years having passed since the first complaint was filed. Korean regulators watched antitrust actions brought against Microsoft in the U.S. and Europe before compiling their case in early 2004.
At the end of March, KFTC investigators made a “practical conclusion” to pursue a case in Korea, officials said. The commission’s decision will be legally binding.
The European Commission, the European Union’s executive body, ordered Microsoft last year to sell a version of Windows XP without its Media Player software. It said the company had behaved illegally to maintain its advantage over media player companies RealNetworks and Apple Computer Inc.