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Microsoft Settles Korean Antitrust Case 97

Channy writes Microsoft announced on last Friday that it had reached a settlement with South Korean Internet portal Daum in antitrust case of IM bundling. Daum had complained to the South Korean Fair Trade Commission in 2001, accusing Microsoft of breaking the law by tying its instant messaging software to Windows. A lawsuit on the same grounds was filed in 2004. By the settlement, Microsoft will pay Daum $30 million, including $10 million in cash. In return, Daum would drop its lawsuit. Before this decision, Microsoft has threatened to withdraw its Windows software from South Korea if the country's antitrust agency orders it to unbundle its instant-messaging and media player software from the operating system. Despite this settlement, KFTC announced plans to continue investigation of this case and conclude the final decision within this year."
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Microsoft Settles Korean Antitrust Case

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  • Is it me, or is everywhere I turn a lawsuit against Microsoft, in some form?
    • That actually wasn't supposed to be a Troll Post

      I'm being quite serious, in that Microsoft seem to keep getting sued left, right, and center, all through the bundling of software products within its operating system.

      It feels like some companies are jumping on the bandwagon, knowing they'll get a settlement.
  • wow...good going threatening extreme stability for the South Korean computer industry.
    • And ofcourse, after they make it go through, sue everybody with a new version of windows in S Korea=Still income for Microsoft.
      Or complain to the US goverment that the US software industry is loosing ground in Asia, and that Linux is stronger than ever.
    • Microsoft has threatened to withdraw its Windows software from South Korea if the country's antitrust agency orders it to unbundle its instant-messaging and media player software from the operating system.

      Is that a promise? Please? Can anybody sue Microsoft if they don't follow through?

      ;-)

  • Microsoft will pay Daum $30 million, including $10 million in cash

    Where's the 20M$ remaining? Are they paying in licenses? Again? How long before MS licenses are on the forex rates?
    • by interstellar_donkey ( 200782 ) <pathighgate.hotmail@com> on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @10:14AM (#14034228) Homepage Journal
      The remaning $20 million will be paid out in "Microsoft Fun Bucks", little blue and green notes with pictures of smiling MS execs on them. These can be used to purcahse certian Microsoft products, food at the MS headquarters cafeteria and items at the MS giftshop.

      At current rates, $20 million in MS fun bucks can purchase 4 force feedback joysticks, a copy of 'Age of Empries, 10 Microsoft branded tote bags and a dozen MS ballpoint pens. With enough left over for a cheese and mushroom omlet at the cafeteria.
    • Does $30 million seem a little low to anyone else? I'm sure they leveraged more than $30 million dollars by illegally bundling the software...
  • How does that work? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by schon ( 31600 ) on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @10:07AM (#14034176)
    Microsoft will pay Daum $30 million, including $10 million in cash.

    So.. the other $20M will be in the form of an NSF cheque?

    And when is the drop for the cash going down? Is the $10M going to be in small, non-sequentially numbered, unmarked bills?
  • I mean, how much money they would be getting anyway from all those windows copies sold in Korea? My bet, is that's just their investment in their "world damination project".

    otherwise how would it look like if whole Korea switched off windows?
  • by G4from128k ( 686170 ) on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @10:08AM (#14034183)
    I'm sure that Chinese officials are taking one look at Microsoft's threat to withdraw from Korea and realizing that they don't want China to depend on such a capricious foreign vendor.

    What will happen when China stops using Windows and also becomes the leading maker and buyer of PCs? Companies that do business with China (and most do) will see less and less advantages in staying 100% Windows and less and less likely to buy Microsoft's nonstandard applications.

    • Well, if China uses legal licenses only, than with a retreat of Microsoft out of China, or the Chinese goverment forbidding China to use Microsoft software, the number of people using Linux could jump with 20 to 30 mln in a year time, and after several years, the remaining linux howtos will only be understandable when you are able to read Chinese.
      • by moro_666 ( 414422 ) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `rotaanimluk'> on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @10:23AM (#14034292) Homepage
        a) linux is already quite popular in china already, ffs, they have their own distro :D

        b) and after several years, the remaining linux howtos will only be understandable when you are able to read Chinese.
        lucklily that will take quite some years, unless the assassinate the leading kernel/kde/gnome developers and install liu touva & other dudes named like that in place. instead you should be affraid china forking their own linux project all together and the mess that this will create (and they will rename it to Leenux)

        c) with the corruption and illegal action rates currently in china, not even the forbidding order from the goverment can stop windows from being pirated there all over the place.

        d) imagine the power of developers currently kept back behind the "china's wall". there may be a next "einstein of code" hidden there.
    • by JonN ( 895435 ) on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @10:16AM (#14034243) Homepage
      This isn't the first drive, and this isn't the last. From this article [geek.com]:

      The bad news for Microsoft: China decided to do this by switching to Chinese companies, many of which develop for Linux.

      And what is interesting about this article? Check the date: Wed Jan 09 2002

    • by Anonymous Coward
      The above post is a fine example of the escapism and clinical delusionalism that is pervasive in the Linux community. Unwilling and unable to confront Linux's shortcomings and failures as a MS Windows competitor, they construct elaborate fantasy worlds where someone, somewhere begins hates Microsoft enough to begin mass revolt and switch to the inferior Linux system. A prototypical "loser", an triumphant Linux functions in their pretend-world as a substitute for their own masculine ineffectualness. You can
      • Dammit! I left my webcam on again, didn't I? :-)
      • Interesting. Linux has arguably been more successful at competing with Windows on the desktop front than any operating system since IBM's 32-bit OS/2 offerings in the early and mid 1990's, and the level of attention Microsoft has been paying to Linux confirms that observation.

        Instead of tossing out flippant insults, perhaps you should come out of your cave and actually test the wind. Redmond is losing inertia, my friend, and even casual PC users are starting to realize that there has to be something bette
    • As someone already mentioned, China has already "driven" itself to Linux for awhile now. There is a good article over at Newsforge about this. China's Linux disease [newsforge.com].
  • It used to be if "you can't win, join them" it seems that Microsoft has redefined it :-)

    Gosh, they may even patent it as a business practice !!

  • consumers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mary_will_grow ( 466638 ) on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @10:10AM (#14034199)
    By the settlement, Microsoft will pay Daum $30 million, including $10 million in cash. In return, Daum would drop its lawsuit.

    OK, but "justice has not been served". The problem of unfairly putting Microsoft's IM client in a favorable light is still there, and this company will still lose their market share to them, and consumers will still be worse off for having lost some competition.

    Winner: The one with the deepest pockets! Subverting the not-quite-free-market to hurt consumers everywhere!

    • Re:consumers (Score:2, Interesting)

      by flyinwhitey ( 928430 )
      "Winner: The one with the deepest pockets! Subverting the not-quite-free-market to hurt consumers everywhere!"

      Please exercise some critical thinking skills before you spout a ridiculous, overused meme like this.

      Now, I would like you to explain how MS won this case with their deep pockets when

      a) THEY DIDN'T WIN!!!
      b) THEY DIDN'T WIN!!!
      c) The other company was going to win before the settlement.

      They settled. That's not a win, not even by the twisted, we-must-all-hate-MS-because-we're-slashbots mentality.

      Just
      • Re:consumers (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jav1231 ( 539129 )
        Okay, so they PAID for the opportunity to bundle the software. They get to keep the IM software in the OS, right? No consumer harm was rectified. I'd say they might not have won, but they got a bargain.
        • The point I wanted to make, which got lost I think, is that there is a pre-disposition to assuming MS will always win, and they will use their resources to do it by making legal action to expensive to pursue. I hate that particualr lie, and have decided to call anyone who tries to spew it.

          I frankly don't give two shakes about this case.

          I'm just tired of hearing the same garbage spouted in response to everthing that has "MS" and "court" in the same sentence.
    • Subverting the not-quite-free-market to hurt consumers everywhere!

      Don't disagree with anything you are saying, but either I misunderstood your use of the term "free market" or you misunderstand its meaning.

      In a true "free market" there are no law or regulations governing commerce. The idea is the market will sort it all out itself. So in a true free market none of these lawsuits against MS would have any merit. Sometimes people seem to confuse "free market" with "fair market". The two are actually qu
      • In a true "free market", the details of the goods are "free" as in freedom. Go quickly read a wikipedia article on The Market for Lemons [wikipedia.org]. There is full disclosure to the consumers about what they are buying in a true free market. This is the only way you get all the predicted "goodies" out of a free market (Where the best man for the job fills it, the consumers are stuffed with the goods they value, etc). We dont have that. We have advertisements that aim to misrepresent the products and confuse
        • Its not even an arguement as to whether or not IM or IE or WMP etc... comes bundled w/ windows. Every OS has its installed programs - they can be uninstalled.

          ~*~ HOWEVER ~*~

          1 f**king MSWindows security update or a service pack later, the sh*t's all back.

          That's what pisses me off. Especially in a working/commercial environment
  • Far less than $30mil (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tango42 ( 662363 ) on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @10:11AM (#14034202)
    $10 million cash payment by Microsoft to Daum, $10 million in advertising deals and unspecified business terms worth a further $10 million.

    So that's only really $10mil. The advertising probably won't cost MS much (they probably couldn't sell it for $10mil to anyone else - they wouldn't advertise a competitor anywhere noticeable anyway), and "unspecified business terms"? That's just giving MS more business - even if they don't make money from it, they won't lose much (they have to employ all their people anyway - might as well keep them busy).

    So Daum gain $30mil, prehaps, but MS don't lose anywhere near that much. I don't know South Korean law, but I expect they could have won far more if they'd gone to court.
  • $10 million in Korean dollars is what -- like seventy-three cents?
    • Re:So... (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      South Korean currency is 'won'. Exchange rate is about one thousand wons to a dollar. So Microsoft will pay about 10,000 million wons.
  • by 8127972 ( 73495 ) on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @10:22AM (#14034287)
    After all, Microsoft is in a position to throw money around like 50 Cent in a rap video. This is simply a payment to make their problems not only go away in Korea, but to keep other countries from thinking that they can investigate Microsoft in the same way. The fact that the Koreans still want to investigate them is ecouraging, but not really meaningful IMHO.

    There's nothing to see here. Move along.
  • by bogaboga ( 793279 ) on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @10:25AM (#14034301)
    ...that M$ continues to bundle, just like before. I have come to one conclusion. Courts in Korea are just as inept as those in this USA. Sad indeed.
    • Courts in Korea are just as inept as those in this USA. Sad indeed.

      Sadder, perhaps, that Microsoft has been slapped for using those practices at home, and presumably (I am being charitable here) might have taken some measures to un-bundle the offending software, but it persists in following the same practices away from home.

      If those bozos in the MS boardroom had any of the talent or imagination they are paid for, they should by now have been able to come up with a less obnoxious business model that still p

    • but it never went to court..
    • This was a settlement reached between Microsoft and the company that was suing them, without going to court. Microsoft is simply paying them to drop the lawsuit.
  • Just a while ago Microsoft had settled a lawsuit with Real Networks for $761 million. $256 million just went to malaria research from the Gates foundation. Is 30 million realy a big issue for Microsoft?. Its probably Bill Gates' wife missing 2 days grocery shopping. It makes sense why Microsoft would pay even after threatening to government to 'Withdraw Windows from the Korean Market' if the government did not comply with Bill Gates rules. Funny how eventualy Bill Gates will have more power than smaller gov
  • Microsoft has threatened to withdraw its Windows software from South Korea if the country's antitrust agency orders it to unbundle its instant-messaging and media player software from the operating system.

    Spooky.
    • Microsoft has threatened to withdraw its Windows software from South Korea if the country's antitrust agency orders it to unbundle its instant-messaging and media player software from the operating system.

      Spooky
      This behavior reminds me of a kid I went to pre-school with.
  • by Thagg ( 9904 ) <thadbeier@gmail.com> on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @10:31AM (#14034348) Journal
    Massachussets is involved in a case with Microsoft over the future of digital documents. MA has made it a requirement that all records be stored in a completely open digital format, and have recommended that the OpenDoc standard qualifies (along with Adobe's PDF) and that Microsoft's new MSXML doesn't.

    Microsoft is imposing some restrictions on the MSXML format -- and it would appear that they might be able to change those restrictions at some future time.

    If they are willing to cut off an entire country, then potentially it may be impossible legally to read and modify that country's documents. Massachussets has to be aware that if it could happen to Korea, it could potentially happen to MA if they are too uppity.

    We'll see if Massachussets officials can withstand the full-court press of Microsoft's hard-bought political muscle, but if anything should give those officials some backbone, it's this kind of nonsense.

    Thad Beier

    • MS having lost with the IT dept of MS has gone above their heads and bought the senators. Now the legislature is trying to pass a law that prohibits the CIO from taking action on IT matters without consent from the legislature. Go read groklaw to get the full details of this obcene turn of events.

      America, the best democracy money can buy.
  • From the article: "Analysts say the payment would alleviate a cash shortage at Daum, which acquired Lycos Inc. last year and has been suffering heavy costs linked to restructuring efforts at the U.S. portal."

    So, what was this lawsuit about? How does this settlement help anybody but Daum and Microsoft? I'm glad the KFTC is still looking into this; there doesn't seem to have been any real improvement in the Korean market through this settlement, or any wins for the end user (unless you're a Daum shareholde

  • by NVP_Radical_Dreamer ( 925080 ) on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @10:46AM (#14034468) Homepage
    But I personally see no problem with bundling their client with the operating system, or even the media player for that matter. Most users use the computer as an appliance, they want it to just work. They dont want to go find an IM client and media player and install it, they expect it to just be there. If you dont like it, remove access to it via GPEDIT.

    What I DO have a problem with is the amount of "digging" the average person has to do to find a way to remove them if they dont want them there.
    • by Phroggy ( 441 ) * <.moc.yggorhp. .ta. .3todhsals.> on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @12:53PM (#14035664) Homepage
      Apple bundles an IM client with Mac OS X. Guess what though? It's just bundled - that's all. If you don't want to use it, you can simply ignore it, or drag it to the Trash without ever opening it.

      Microsoft's IM client isn't just bundled: it launches automatically every time you load Windows, pops up with an alert telling you to sign up for an account, and stays in your taskbar unless you know how to get rid of it (the average user doesn't know how).

      Also, Apple doesn't run their own IM network; their client works with AIM and Jabber, and doesn't display advertisements. You can use Apple's client to connect to a third-party network without registering with Apple for anything.
  • by digitaldc ( 879047 ) on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @10:50AM (#14034500)
    Does this mean that Apple will have to unbundle Quicktime from Tiger if it ever ships to South Korea or other countries with anti-trust laws as well?
    • Apple can just say "but we had to bundle it to compete with Microsoft." When a company's market share approaches or is an effective monopoly, you have to hold it to different standards than competing companies for capitalism to work.
    • Should Apple allow other companies to manufacture their computers using their operating system for a lower price in order to gain a greater market share? Or is that inherently a bad idea for Apple?
  • by OneSeventeen ( 867010 ) * on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @10:58AM (#14034580) Homepage Journal

    Microsoft Gives Daum $30Million, South Korea switches to Ubuntu. $30Mil would buy what, 60,000 computers that could run Ubuntu smoothly? (monitor included) And they could choose whether or not to install an instant messenger application!

    A Skit:

    • MSFT: Here, have an OS with all sorts of non-OS software packaged in.
    • Daum: But we don't want non-OS software, it's against our laws to force us.
    • MSFT: Freedom is overrated, too bad.
    • Daum: /me files lawsuit.
    • MSFT /me plays a violin.
    • Linspire: Here is a free OS I'd be willing to sell for cheap, and it looks like Windows but doesn't violate any of your laws.
    • S.Korea: Hmmmm.....
    • MSFT: $30Million ($10 in cash... for some reason)
    • Daum: *shrug* Okay.
    • Lawsuit: /leave
  • offer to provide their OS to all of Korea for $5 million? http://linux.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/11/05/ 0749253&tid=109&tid=106&tid=219 [slashdot.org]
  • by mikrorechner ( 621077 ) on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @11:09AM (#14034677)
    Personally, I don't really like the idea that some companies now are big enough to try to extort a mid-sized country. If I were South Korea, I'd really be worried what other global players might do in a few years time.

    I guess this is one of the reasons why the European Union exists. One country alone, if it isn't a really big one like the US, is simply too small a market to matter to the global players if you annoy them too much. AFAIK, Microsoft never threatened to withdraw their products from the European market during the antitrust proceedings there.
  • For fuck's sake... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jofi ( 908156 )
    It's their damn OS, let them bundle whatever the fuck they want.

    Banning the ability to install other IM clients is anti-competitive, not merely bundling.

    Let's sue Apple for bundling their programs into their OS.

    Jesus christ people, at least be consistent.

    • "Banning the ability to install other IM clients is anti-competitive, not merely bundling."

      No, leveraging monopoly market-share of the OS to force adoption of an unrelated product is anti-competitive.

      "Let's sue Apple for bundling their programs into their OS."

      See above; Apple does not qualify as a trust or monopoly, so bundling does not force adoption of unrelated product on the vast majority of the market.

  • Seoul has been staring down an insane tyrant hellbent on invading for a halfcentury. Maybe they won't blink while keeping an eye on Microsoft, which has already infiltrated.
  • Why is legal to say "Here's some money, forget I broke the law." ?
  • You know a company has gotten too big when it can threaten a country.
  • I see nothing wrong with bundling software.

    How many of us would care things like an LCD screen with GPS tracking, CD/MP3 player deck, temperature controlled environment, carpets, rear view cameras on the car were standard in a car.

    Why not in an OS? Cause its MS? Its their OS, they have a right to put what they want and sell it just as much as GM, Honda or Toyota does.

    'The consumer would like a choice' argument doesn't work here because most avg consumers want something that just works.
    • How many of us would care things like an LCD screen with GPS tracking, CD/MP3 player deck, temperature controlled environment, carpets, rear view cameras on the car were standard in a car.

      Why not in an OS? Cause its MS? Its their OS, they have a right to put what they want and sell it just as much as GM, Honda or Toyota does.
      Those are all options. If I want a car without that stuff I can get it... not only can I get it but it's cheaper.
  • Reaching a "settlement" is just another way of saying that Microsoft is not going to just give up on a country, as much as their legal/PR team wants to say that they would have no problem taking their toys and leaving S. Korea. Instead of having to back up their threat to leave S. Korea, they are just trying another tactic by settling with them (read: bribing). Because if Microsoft does leave, the flip side is that the other countries that are really tired of Microsoft's strong-arm tactics will suddenly

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