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Microsoft Rejects Japanese Antimonopoly Recommendation

Microsoft will fight the Japanese government over an antimonopoly action.

The Japanese Fair Trade Commission recommended on July 13 that Microsoft is in contravention of Japan's Antimonopoly Act. Microsoft formally gave the JFTC notice of its plans to seek further hearings on the recommendation this week.

"After careful examination of the contents of the Recommendation, Microsoft has decided that it is unable to accept the demands of the Recommendation, and has today informed the JFTC of this decision," a company statement read. "Microsoft looks forward to further explaining its views and fostering understanding of its position at JFTC hearings."

The JFTC found that Microsoft's contracts for licensing Windows to PC makers imposed improper restrictions on the OEM's business activities.

The Japanese recommendation is one of three national or international antitrust actions Microsoft faced. The company settled with the U.S. Department of Justice, although the DOJ is interested in reviewing Windows "Longhorn" to ensure that Microsoft does not violate U.S. antitrust law with its next version of Windows. The European Commission imposed a record antitrust fine against Microsoft. That ruling is under appeal.

The formal notice of appeal to the JFTC ruling comes less than a week after Microsoft announced plans to reduce its huge cash pile, a move the company said was possible because the scope of its legal exposure is becoming clear. The company unveiled a package to return $75 billion to investors over four years. The package includes a special $3-per-share dividend, a doubling of regular dividends and a four-year stock repurchasing plan.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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