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November 22, 1998

JAPAN FINDS MICROSOFT ANTITRUST VIOLATION

By CBR Staff Writer

The Japanese Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) has ruled that the domestic subsidiary of Microsoft Corp broke Japan’s anti-trust laws by promoting software in a way that disadvantaged rival’s products. The ruling centers around allegations that Microsoft Co pushed Japanese PC manufacturers such as NEC Corp and Fujitsu Ltd to drop home-grown software – specifically the word processing and spread sheet package produced by Justsystem Corp – in favor of pre-installed Microsoft applications such as Word and Excel (CI No 3,325). In a statement, the president of Microsoft Co, Makoto Naruke said he welcomed the decision by the JFTC, claiming that the ruling was a legal victory because the JFTC had decided not to pursue allegations that Microsoft had impeded competition with browser rival Netscape Communications Corp. Microsoft claims it modified business practices relating to pre-installed and stand-alone software when the JFTC raised its initial complaint back in January of this year. The Japanese ruling has no bearing on the DoJ of justice case currently going on in Washington but represents another blow for Redmond on the public relations front, especially as Microsoft itself says that Japan has stricter competition laws than those in the US. The JFTC will issue a full statement on the affair next week. Microsoft is not expected to fight the ruling.

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