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Wednesday, 5 September, 2001, 05:33 GMT 06:33 UK
South Korean firm to sue Microsoft
Microsoft Windows XP logo
Microsoft's new PC operating system, Windows XP, is facing another legal challenge - this time from South Korea.


Microsoft, which accounts for more than 90% of Korea's operating system market, is using its monopolistic position to force local PC makers to buy Windows XP and other software features

Daum Communications

Daum Communications, a Seoul-based internet service provider, has filed a complaint against the software giant with the Korea Fair Trade Commission.

The company says Microsoft's bundling of functions like instant messaging, internet telephony and digital picture handling amounts to an unfair trade practice.

Daum has 20% of Korea's instant messaging market.

"Microsoft, which accounts for more than 90% of Korea's operating system market, is using its monopolistic position to force local PC makers to buy Windows XP and other software features," the company said.

Microsoft Korea said it could not comment before it had been through the complaint in detail.

Bundling

The question of bundling has dogged Microsoft for years, ever since it started including the Internet Explorer web browser in its operating system.

Bill Gates with Windows 2000, AP
Windows XP follows Windows 2000

XP, which is expected in shops in October, takes the issue further by including a string of functions which third-party manufacturers complain could put them out of business.

The question of whether that amounts to illegal action under US antitrust laws remains to be concluded, and is one of the tasks facing the new judge running the US government's case against Microsoft.

According to opponents, Microsoft uses its muscle to ensure it controls as many ways of accessing information - especially that which could be charged for, such as music and video - over the internet.

Its Media Player software has been accused of breaking other forms of multimedia playback software installed on Windows PCs.

And its plans to include "smart tags" - designed, detractors say, to push users to websites which are Microsoft allies - were withdrawn after a hail of protests from privacy and consumer advocates.

See also:

29 Aug 01 | Business
Microsoft judge speeds up hearings
24 Aug 01 | Business
Microsoft case sent back to court
24 Aug 01 | Business
Microsoft ships Windows XP
13 Aug 01 | Sci/Tech
XP prepares to storm desktops
14 Aug 01 | Sci/Tech
To upgrade or not to upgrade
19 Apr 01 | Sci/Tech
Microsoft 'experiments' with XP
09 May 01 | Business
October launch for Windows XP
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