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2009/06/11 14:10 KST
(LEAD) S. Korean court finds Microsoft guilty in anti-trust case

SEOUL, June 11 (Yonhap) -- A South Korean court ruled Thursday that Microsoft Corp. violated anti-trust regulations by bundling programs with its Windows operating system, but dismissed demands for monetary compensation from rival companies.

   Two South Korean software companies, Digito.Com and Sanview Technology Inc., had filed suits against the global software giant, requesting 30 billion won (US$24 million) and 10 billion won, respectively. They claimed Microsoft caused them financial damages by packaging its instant messenger program and Windows Media Service with its dominating operating system.

   "Microsoft's sales practices breached fair competition regulations by bundling its related programs, abusing its market dominance," the Seoul District Court said in a ruling.

   But it rejected the compensation suits, citing lack of proof.

   "The companies were ousted from the market, either by lack of price competitiveness or overseas business failure," the court said. "It has not been proven that the damages are linked to Microsoft."

   In 2006, South Korea's financial watchdog fined Microsoft 33 billion won and said the company must offer its MSN Messenger and Windows Media Player programs separate from its Windows operating system.

   A European Union court imposed a record fine of $690 million on the software giant for its breach of anti-trust law in 2007.

   "I believe South Korea's ruling is the first in the world to acknowledge Microsoft's violation of anti-trust regulations in a suit filed by private firms," said Kim Sung-soo, spokesman for the Seoul court.