Japan hits Microsoft with antitrust warning

Japan's antitrust regulators continue the monthly tradition of suing the software giant Microsoft. Today Japan accused Microsoft of unfair business practices. Unlike the European Union this lawsuit doesn't carry a heavy fine. According to News.com "Japan's Fair Trade Commission said Microsoft should scrap a provision in its licensing contracts with PC makers that prevents them from filing patent infringement suits if they find Microsoft's Windows software contains features similar to their own technology."

Microsoft on Tuesday received a warning from Japan's antitrust regulators about unfair business practices, but the decision did not carry the heavy fines the software giant was given in Europe.

Japan's Fair Trade Commission said Microsoft should scrap a provision in its licensing contracts with PC makers that prevents them from filing patent infringement suits if they find Microsoft's Windows software contains features similar to their own technology. "There is a high probability that the provision will discourage PC makers from developing their own technology," said Toshihiro Hara, director of the First Special Investigation division at Japan's Fair Trade Commission.

A Microsoft official said the company was implementing a plan to drop the provision in new contracts worldwide, but it was not known whether that would be enough to satisfy the trade watchdog, which raided the offices of Microsoft's Japan unit in February. The ruling is a slap on the wrist compared with the record fine from European regulators and a string of class-action lawsuits in the United States saying Microsoft used its monopoly in the PC operating systems market to overcharge customers for software.

News source: C|Net News.com

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