Washington International Law Journal


Sejin Kim


In the spring of 2006, the Korea Fair Trade Commission (“KFTC”) imposed a fine of approximately thirty-one million dollars and a cease-and-desist order against Microsoft Corporation (“Microsoft”) for bundling its Windows Media Service (“WMS”), Windows Media Player (“WMP”), and Windows Messenger (“WM”) into its personal computer operating system “Windows.” Specifically, the KFTC ordered Microsoft to completely separate WMS from Windows and provide two different versions of Windows: one bundled with WMP and WM and the other without these two programs. It is also noteworthy that the KFTC required Microsoft to include the “Media/Messenger Centre” in the bundled version to help users download competing media players and instant messengers. Yet, the KFTC’s requirement still seems imperfect because most end-users become wedded to Microsoft’s application programs to which they are exposed first. Instead, the KFTC could have imposed a “must-carry” obligation which requires installation of other competing media players and messaging programs as the default in Windows. Among various remedial options available, the must-carry requirement against Microsoft could be the most effective way to give Windows users fully equal access to competing products. But many practical difficulties, such as increased costs due to potential legal and economic problems exist in providing such equal accessibility through the must-carry option. Thus, the KFTC’s “Media/Messenger Center” requirement, which is expected to create similar (but still not equal) accessibility as the must-carry obligation, was an appropriate alternative as the next best option for the KFTC.

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