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Microsoft ends 'unfair' contract

Microsoft has announced it is to ditch a controversial contracts provision under investigation in Japan.

The software giant's statement comes after Japanese fair trade officials raided its Tokyo offices on suspicion of violating anti-monopoly laws. Microsoft said it would now be removing the contract detail which prevents computer firms from suing it for any use of their patented technology. The Japanese Fair Trade Commission had said it was unfair and restrictive. Microsoft is accused of making companies such as NEC, Hitachi and Sony, who want to pre-install its Windows software on their computers, sign away their right to sue, even if they find Microsoft has used their patent technology.

Continuing denial

In its statement Microsoft again denied any wrongdoing, but said it would be removing the contract provision for "customer satisfaction" reasons. "Microsoft believes that the patent-related provision is lawful under Japanese, US and EU law," it said. Microsoft spokesman Jim Desler said it had been intended to reduce litigation and was "narrow in scope". The software giant also said the patent-related provision had been approved by European Union regulators and reviewed by anti-trust authorities in the US.

News source: BBC News

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