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Microsoft Threatens To Withdraw Windows in S.Korea 536

Posted by Zonk
from the that-won't-lead-to-piracy-at-all dept.
RocketJeff writes "South Korea's Fair Trade Commission (FTC) has been investigating Microsoft since 2001 for violations of South Korea's antitrust rules. According to a Reuters article, part of a recent Microsoft regulatory filing states 'it might be necessary to withdraw Windows from the Korean market or delay offering new versions in Korea.' Basically, Microsoft is threatening to take their marbles and go home if they don't get the ruling they want."
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Microsoft Threatens To Withdraw Windows in S.Korea

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  • by It doesn't come easy (695416) * on Friday October 28, 2005 @12:05PM (#13897119) Journal
    Right...that should convince the South Korean government (and the rest of the world) that they're not an abusive monopoly.
    • Re:Good strategy (Score:5, Interesting)

      by JavaLord (680960) on Friday October 28, 2005 @12:08PM (#13897162) Journal
      I wonder what percentage of the south korean economy is made up of those internet cafes. Switching OS's won't really be fun for them (if it comes to that.).

      Gaming is fairly big in SK also, somehow I think 'it runs on WINE' isn't going to fly.
      • Re:Good strategy (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Tester (591) <olivier DOT crete AT ocrete DOT ca> on Friday October 28, 2005 @12:13PM (#13897211) Homepage
        Gaming is fairly big in SK also, somehow I think 'it runs on WINE' isn't going to fly.

        But it runs on the Playstation probably is.. Its also a huge market for games, so this might make people write/port their games to non-Microsoft operation systems..
      • Re:Good strategy (Score:2, Insightful)

        by mlk (18543)
        I guess it depends on how legal said cafes are in the first place.

        And how up-to-date they like to be, I don't think MS could stop existing copies of MS Windows from running. And I don't see WinXP++ only games coming out all that soon.

        Then finally what about buying abroad?

        I don't think it'll be an issue, one way or the other.
      • Re:Good strategy (Score:2, Informative)

        by Fiver- (169605)
        Why would it come to that? Nothing about this would invalidate existing installations of Windows.
      • Re:Good strategy (Score:3, Insightful)

        by pete6677 (681676)
        They won't have to switch. They'll just keep doing what they're doing right now, which is running pirated copies of Windows. Considering how rampant piracy is in South Korea, Microsoft isn't exactly going to lose any money by suspending official sales. They'll probably come out ahead by avoiding legal expenses.
        • Re:Good strategy (Score:3, Interesting)

          by jxyama (821091)
          I never understood this reasoning. Private consumers aren't the only ones using PCs - enterprises and businesses use PCs too. And they do not get away with corporate-wide piracy of Windows. Even if 100% of ind. users pirated Windows in S. Korea, there's significant revenue to be had from corporate users.
          • Re:Good strategy (Score:3, Insightful)

            by rainman_bc (735332)
            The question is, if Microsoft pulls out of the S. Korean market, what leg would they have to stand on to enforce their copyright?

            Granted, they can pull Korean Language support out of Windows Vista though.
        • Re:Good strategy (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Considering how rampant piracy is in South Korea, <blah-blah-blah-snip>

          First, South Korea isn't known for piracy any more than any other country. Second, piracy is rampant here as well as it is there as well as it is anywhere in the world. Just because you have a better explanation for stealing you music in the name of media-should-be-free rants, doesn't mean piracy is only rampant in South Korea, China, and other countries you know nothing about.

          Cheers. :)
          • Re:Good strategy (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Pentavirate (867026) on Friday October 28, 2005 @01:12PM (#13897836) Homepage Journal
            There are countries where piracy is more rampant than others. I lived in Venezuela in the mid 90's and I'd never seen such rampant piracy before in my life. People sold copies of copywrited material on every street corner. From bad duplicates of Simpson T-shirts to stacks and stacks of audio cassettes coppied onto blank tapes. I don't know anything about South Korea, but you can't say that piracy problems are the exact same no matter where you are in the world.
          • Re:Good strategy (Score:4, Insightful)

            by SQL_SAM (697455) on Friday October 28, 2005 @01:38PM (#13898101)
            First, South Korea isn't known for piracy any more than any other country.

            I did a simple google search (piracy in south Korea) and found the following interesting articles. I may be wrong, but it does look like S. Korea is known for a major amount of piracy And is my opinion that we (United States) are no way as close to the piracy in other countries like South Korea as we tend to fear repercussions and law suits more then other countries do...

            http://www.mpaa.org/PiracyFactSheets/PiracyFactShe etSouthKorea.pdf [mpaa.org]

            http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117907504?catego ryid=1009&cs=1 [variety.com]

            Piracy losses (US$ millions) $27 million
            Seizures (all items) 231,514
            Piracy level (Video & Optical Disc) 25%

            "Piracy has been on the rebound in South Korea since the economic downturn in 2001 and 2002. Historically, piracy of high quality, counterfeit videocassettes has been the most prevalent in the market. However, in 2003, there has been a significant increase in the number of DVD imports and optical disc burner operations in South Korea. In addition, duplication facilities of videocassette plants and now burner labs have become larger, more secretive and more sophisticated with technology. This signals a shift from the historical trend where piracy duplication facilities had small and medium capacity.

            South Korea's cat-and-mouse with piracy [com.com]

            "With a piracy rate of 40 percent to 50 percent, according to various estimates, South Korea has become one of the hot spots for cracking down on illegal software."


            Again I may be wrong but it seems that your statement is unfounded. - Cheers!

            • Piracy losses (US$ millions) $27 million

              Wow, $27-trillion! That's more than half of the global economy in piracy in South Korea alone. If we could eliminate global piracy, we would all be hundreds of times wealthier than we are now!
              • Re:Good strategy (Score:3, Interesting)

                by ultranova (717540)

                Wow, $27-trillion! That's more than half of the global economy in piracy in South Korea alone. If we could eliminate global piracy, we would all be hundreds of times wealthier than we are now!

                No. Microsoft, Disney, and the other Corporate Overlords would be hundreds of times wealthier than they are now. You and the other mere consumers, on the other hand, wouldn't see any of this wealth.

                In fact, it seems that this is the only thing that stands between Corporate Overlords and total world domination. If

      • Re:Good strategy (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Klivian (850755) on Friday October 28, 2005 @12:29PM (#13897384)
        I wonder what percentage of the south korean economy is made up of those internet cafes. Switching OS's won't really be fun for them (if it comes to that.).

        Does not really matter, as it's not like MS can reclaim already existing Windows installs. It may create some annoyances for people planing new deployments or upgrades, but existing install will not be affected in any way. It's like if Ford decided to stop making cars, it would not cause all the Fords currently on the road to stop working.
        • Re:Good strategy (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Shakrai (717556) on Friday October 28, 2005 @12:51PM (#13897595) Journal

          It's like if Ford decided to stop making cars, it would not cause all the Fords currently on the road to stop working.

          That reminds me of a story about how Cuba is filled with classic American cars from the 1940s and 1950s that are (for the most part) still well maintained and still on the road after all these years. They can't get new cars easily because the closest nation won't trade with them and for the longest time neither would most of the Western World.

          Granted, software isn't automobiles and there are ways around it (run the American version, pirate it, switch to linux, etc.) but it's kind of amusing to think of an entire nation running Windows 2000 and XP 40 years from now.

    • Re:Good strategy (Score:5, Insightful)

      by El Cubano (631386) <roberto@conne[ ].com ['xer' in gap]> on Friday October 28, 2005 @12:12PM (#13897200) Homepage

      Right...that should convince the South Korean government (and the rest of the world) that they're not an abusive monopoly.

      I don't care what the rest of the world thinks. I would just like to see them do the same throughout the rest of the world. Start threatening to take Windows out of the various world markets and see the wonders it does for OSS alternatives. At the very least people will begin to prepare migration plans and so on.

    • It also would be the best thing microsoft ever did for linux and apple.
    • by TheSpoom (715771) * <slashdot&uberm00,net> on Friday October 28, 2005 @12:14PM (#13897227) Homepage Journal
      24. ANTI-SOUTH KOREA PROVISION

      Windows may not be used and is not licensed for use in any area of South Korea because they are big doodyheads and we don't like them any more.
      • 25. PRO NORTH-KOREA PROVISION

        Windows and Office Suites may be used on all computers operated by North Korean nationals and Governmental agencies free of the usual licensing fees.

        Want to lay odds on North Korean ballistic missiles running Windows vs. South Korean defense systems running Linux? ;)

    • Re:Good strategy (Score:5, Insightful)

      by QuietLagoon (813062) on Friday October 28, 2005 @12:21PM (#13897297)
      Exactly. All this would be is a short-term pain for South Korea. In the long-term, however, it would convince companies in South Korea and elsewhere not to place strategic reliance upon a proprietary operating system that can be pulled off the market on a whim.

      I have to wonder, is Microsoft's future sales of Windows starting to look so bleak that Microsoft needs to play poker with their customers? I know that yesterday's quarterly report was not the greatest, but I didn't think it was bad enough to start warranting this type of chair-throwing behavior with South Korea.

      On a side note, since this news broke, if any CIO manager who is dependent upon Windows is not starting to look for strategic alternatives, that IT mangaer is not doing his or her job.

      • by Dogtanian (588974) on Friday October 28, 2005 @01:06PM (#13897770) Homepage
        I have to wonder, is Microsoft's future sales of Windows starting to look so bleak that Microsoft needs to play poker with their customers?

        Steve Ballmer is reported to have said "Fucking South Koreans are fucking pussies. I'm going to fucking bury that country, I have done it before, and I will do it again. I'm going to fucking destroy South Korea." ....

        In other news, Microsoft are reported to be engaged in talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il regarding what Ballmer calls a "synergistic exchange of resources; in exchange for free Windows XP Home licenses, Microsoft will receive the use of North Korea's dedicated military personnel and hardware, including 'cutting edge nuclear technology'".

        It was noted by analysts that Ballmer was "unusually serene and satisfied looking" during this announcement. The reason for this is as yet unclear.
    • I applaud Microsoft's hard stance on this, and hope that they withdraw all support and future sales of MS products to S. Korea, a powerhouse of a tech economy that's surprised pretty much the entire world in it's post-Korean War explosion into the high-tech scene.

      This could be the best thing to happen to the OSS world since Mr. Torvalds and RMS began collaborating on some projects...
    • by Confessed Geek (514779) on Friday October 28, 2005 @01:07PM (#13897776)

      You can't play hardball with an independent nation..

      Tomrrows Headlines:
      Korea declares all Microsoft IP, Software and Copywrites to be in the Korean Public Domain. All Microsoft Offices Nationalized and documents seized for "National Security"

      • Korea declares all Microsoft IP, Software and Copywrites to be in the Korean Public Domain.

        Diclaimer: IANAL, but I am a law student.

        As much as that (semi-humorous) thought would warm my heart, South Korea is a member of the World Trade Organization [wto.org], which requires signing the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights ("TRIPs") [wikipedia.org], which incorporates the Berne Convention [wikipedia.org] by reference.

        What does this mean? It means that South Korea is obligated to recognize foreign copyrights, and stripping that protection for (arguably valid) nationalist reasons would almost certainly be in violation of international law. I haven't had a chance to fully and formally study the documents in question, but I would be shocked if there would be no recourse by the WTO.

        - Neil Wehneman

        P.S. Berne is a major impediment to full and free reform of copyright on a national level, as it mandates signatory countries to grant at least a copyright term of life of the author plus fifty years.
        • It means that South Korea is obligated to recognize foreign copyrights, and stripping that protection for (arguably valid) nationalist reasons would almost certainly be in violation of international law.

          The Berne Convention only requires a minimum copyright length and that countries treat foreign copyrights the same as they do their own. If Korean law allows or can be changed to allow the confiscation rights from abusive monopolies there is no conflict. For that matter, the Korean courts can just declar

    • Re:Good strategy (Score:5, Interesting)

      by bigman2003 (671309) on Friday October 28, 2005 @01:16PM (#13897872) Homepage
      First the United States
      Then the E.U.
      Now South Korea

      How long until every government jumps on the $500,000,000 + bandwagon of suing Microsoft?

      They really don't have many choices. Now they are at the point where their only answer is: "We don't negotiate with terrorists."
      • They really don't have many choices.

        I know it's old-fashioned of me, but I think they could try to manage their business legally and ethically.

        Silly thought...
  • by Mayhem178 (920970) on Friday October 28, 2005 @12:05PM (#13897122)
    Screw you guys! I'm going home!
  • In Korea (Score:5, Funny)

    by faqmaster (172770) <jones.tm @ g mail.com> on Friday October 28, 2005 @12:05PM (#13897125) Homepage Journal
    Only old people use Windows in Korea.
  • by Vengeance (46019)
    Come on, we all know that MS isn't going to withdraw from the South Korean market. This is just silly.
    • You are wrong, this is not silly. It is hilarously funny. Made my day!

      If Microsoft do this, consider a PHB motivating a Microsoft strategy to his bosses:

      We can safely standardize on Windows, as long as our government doesn't expect all companies to follow the monopoly laws. Otherwise, we could import English-language versions of Office and change company language. Some extra costs for language lessons, of course...

      Talk about losing credibility in the market place all over the world!

  • by Verteiron (224042) on Friday October 28, 2005 @12:06PM (#13897128) Homepage
    "And who will that inconvenience?"
  • Their software (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MrDoh1 (906953) on Friday October 28, 2005 @12:06PM (#13897130) Journal
    It's their software, shouldn't they be able to sell it or not sell it where they wish?
    • by filtur (724994) on Friday October 28, 2005 @12:15PM (#13897230) Homepage
      It's their software, shouldn't they be able to sell it or not sell it where they wish?

      Of course not!! (You must be new here)
      • Re:Their software (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Catbeller (118204)
        They are a monopoly, and monopolies are regulated for JUST THIS REASON. Microsoft is demanding that legal investigations into their anticompetitive actions be halted, or they will cripple South Korea by refusing to sell them product. That is the CLASSIC REASON why monopolies are anti-free market!

        NO. THEY DON'T GET TO DECIDE WHERE THERE PRODUCT IS SOLD. THEY ARE AN ABUSIVE MONOPOLY. They've lost the right. That's why we r-e-g-u-l-a-t-e them, even if Bush's government won't touch them because they hate monopo
    • Re:Their software (Score:5, Insightful)

      by CosmeticLobotamy (155360) on Friday October 28, 2005 @12:25PM (#13897338)
      It's their software, shouldn't they be able to sell it or not sell it where they wish?

      They should be allowed. That doesn't mean they're not jerks if they do.
      • Re:Their software (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MoonFog (586818)
        This also shows a problem with the monopoly position they have. They are one of the companies that can actually make an impact by saying "we're going home" simply because of their influence and their market dominance.
    • Re:Their software (Score:4, Insightful)

      by zakezuke (229119) on Friday October 28, 2005 @12:25PM (#13897342)
      It's their software, shouldn't they be able to sell it or not sell it where they wish?

      This *MIGHT* be true, and I stress "might". But what's to stop S.Korea from buying copies from their neighbors, or heck, legalize flat out piracy of it. Sure Microsoft can pull out but that doesn't mean it's not stupid.
    • You are right. It is. They have the right to do whatever they want with it. If they don't like the terms of dealing with a country they have the right to limit distribution in that country.

      Of course this is /. ...

      -everphilski-
    • Re:Their software (Score:5, Insightful)

      by k98sven (324383) on Friday October 28, 2005 @12:28PM (#13897378) Journal
      It's their software, shouldn't they be able to sell it or not sell it where they wish?

      Nobody said otherwise. (I now take a step back to avoid being hit by the falling straw-man)

      It's very simple. Microsoft doesn't have to sell their software in Korea if they don't want to. Although they'd probably not be able to stop it, since it could be imported via a third country.

      But if Microsoft does want to sell their product in Korea, they have to follow the rules and laws passed by the Korean government. It's as simple as that. Bitching about (in your mind) unfair laws might be okay if South Korea was a dictatorship, but it's not. South Korea is a democracy. Those laws have the support of their people.

      Or are you simply some imperialist who believe you know what's better for them than they do?

      Besides which, Microsoft isn't going to get out of Korea. They can't afford to. Not because of the money, but because it would create the incentive for them to switch. There are nearly 50 million people in South Korea. Whatever platform they moved to (Linux, Mac), it would be a huge boost for that platform, which would mean a much larger strategic loss for Microsoft than it would in terms of Windows licenses.

      Microsoft needs to sustain it's monopoly to survive. Why do you think they're fighting the OpenDocument format so hard? They need to stop other platforms from becoming viable alternatives. And a large modern nation like Korea certainly has the resources to do so.
    • The Korean goverment is also free to take the latest windows release, copy it and distribute it for free within their country. If MS goes complaining to the WTO, then Korea could just point out that said company didn't want their market and it is a vital part of their economy.
    • Re:Their software (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Daniel_Staal (609844) <DStaal@usa.net> on Friday October 28, 2005 @12:38PM (#13897459)
      Sure they can.

      The fact that Microsoft is thinking about it is news, as well as why. Sure they have the right, but it seems the reason to do it is to threaten a country into doing what they want. (By leaving them outside of a technological loop, where everyone else is likely to have a product they don't.) This is interesting because: A company has the power to inconvience a country; Microsoft is acting like a bully; Microsoft obviously isn't seeing all the long-term implications of this.

      If Microsoft succedes, they have proven a multi-national company can be above a particular country's law, and we may be on the way to an overtly corporate-run globe. If it is not a bluff and S. Korea calls it, OSS in all it various forms will get a boost, and we will get to see exactly how much power Microsoft has. If Microsoft backs down, they look like a scared bully and lose prestige. (Especally amoung governments.)

      This is a high-stakes move from Microsoft. It will be interesing to watch. Most likely is some compromise position, which still shows a lot of power in Microsoft's hands.
  • And ... (Score:5, Funny)

    by jmartens (721229) <jimmartens.hotmail@com> on Friday October 28, 2005 @12:06PM (#13897133)
    South Korea prepares a heart felt thank you letter.
  • Funny, that (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JudicatorX (455442) <rernst AT shadowlife DOT ca> on Friday October 28, 2005 @12:06PM (#13897135) Homepage Journal
    the headline below this is "Why do people switch to Linux?"
  • Wouldn't you?
  • Nothing to see here (Score:5, Informative)

    by jaymzter (452402) on Friday October 28, 2005 @12:06PM (#13897142) Homepage
    This is common language in such filings to let investors know of worst case scenarios. For reference, see such filings by SCO on Groklaw.
    So no, it's not a threat or a conspiracy
    • Right... (Score:5, Funny)

      by ILikeRed (141848) on Friday October 28, 2005 @12:19PM (#13897279) Journal

      SCO is just the picture of normalcy.

      Now if only we could get them to pull their products from the US, I would be happy.

    • by daVinci1980 (73174) on Friday October 28, 2005 @12:59PM (#13897680) Homepage
      Yeah.. This headline is exactly why the media today pisses me off. Sensationalism at its worst.

      From TFA: "If the KFTC enters an order requiring Microsoft to remove code or redesign Windows uniquely for the Korean market, it might be necessary to withdraw Windows from the Korean market or delay offering new versions in Korea," Microsoft said in a U.S. regulatory filing on Thursday. (Emphasis mine)

      First off, that was disclosed in a regulatory filing, which was the responsible thing for Microsoft to do. They're warning their investors that should the ruling be against them, they will have to take steps to deal with the ruling which would cost them and their investors money.

      Secondly, Microsoft isn't really being unreasonable. Irrespective of whatever reasons they chose to bundle these three pieces of software in the first place, they're bundled together now. There are many issues with decoupling them, not the least of which is the fact that the SDK for WMP and MSN are now included in Windows, and could cause breakage to non-Microsoft applications when removed. But let's assume for a second that not one app in the entire world uses either of these extensions to the standard Windows SDK. There's still the issue that decoupling these pieces of software will be expensive... If only Korea requires their decoupling, it may make more business sense to simply pull their product from South Korea rather than pay the costs associated with it.

      Finally, Real Media (also mentioned in TFA) doesn't have a leg to stand on. Their product is inferior to their competitors' products in every way, so they chose to stay in business the old fashioned way: lawsuits.

      I'm not pro-Microsoft. But I'm definitely anti-sensationalist media and anti-idiot.
  • by ackthpt (218170) * on Friday October 28, 2005 @12:07PM (#13897143) Homepage Journal
    I guess there's an answer here to the question "Linux: Why Do People Switch To Linux?" [slashdot.org]

    "So Korea, why did you switch to Linux?"

    Korea: "For a variety of reasons. First, Microsoft violated many of my anti-trust regulations. Second, because it is foreign owned and controlled, even it their home country is one of my allies. Third, TCO is very high. Fourth, I have had many security and quality issues with their Jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none operating system. Fifth, Microsoft in response to the charges had threatened to slow or not at all release new products. And finally, because they took their marbles and went home."

    "Their marbles?"

    Korea: "Yes, I'm very disappointed, they had some very pretty catseyes and peeries."

    "If the KFTC enters an order requiring Microsoft to remove code or redesign Windows uniquely for the Korean market, it might be necessary to withdraw Windows from the Korean market or delay offering new versions in Korea," Microsoft said in a U.S. regulatory filing on Thursday.
    Man. Are these people lazy, greedy or what? An entire country, with a considerably strong economy that DEC, Pr1me, Unisys, etc. would absolutely have sold their souls for. Microsoft can't have it their way so they're going to pull out. Blimey.
    • Microsoft can't have it their way so they're going to pull out.

      it's probably been mentioned in a comment i missed, but there's no way they're pulling out... it's just FUD, trying to pressure SK into the ruling they want... if they don't get the ruling, they'll still seel in that country

  • Microsoft knows better than to offer a foothold to any kind of competition.

    Since the whole point of their bundling was to prevent competitors access to markets, walking away from the market isn't exactly an effective counter is it?

  • by Anonymous Coward
    It would be nice if South Korea were to decide that they didn't need new versions of Windows enough to justify changing their laws.
  • I can't think of anything that would get Cedega fixed up and ready for prime time faster.
  • Barring piracy, given the number of online gamers in South Korea, wouldn't this just encourage game developers to develop for other platforms?

    If they had to develop for Linux because that was the only legally available platform that could run on their hardware with gaming support, then game companies would likely have the critical mass they'd need to start really building for Linux.

    Even if they just wanted to continue developing for Windows, I'm sure a number of publishers would push a lot more support fo

  • Why Not! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by andrelix (873009) on Friday October 28, 2005 @12:09PM (#13897171)
    I don't want to get flamed too hard here, but why not? I know M$ has done some predatory things in the past, but they also do a lot of good and get constantly bashed for it. In an open market why should M$ have to sell their goods in a Country that constantly hassles them? I say let them, this will allow the open source movement to see how well they can step up to the plate as well. Just my $0.02...
  • by Monkey (16966) on Friday October 28, 2005 @12:10PM (#13897173)
    This is a clever strategy on the part of Microsoft. The Koreans will be brought to their knees when they realize they need Windows to play Starcraft.
  • by Pudusplat (574705) on Friday October 28, 2005 @12:11PM (#13897184)
    "If the KFTC enters an order requiring Microsoft to remove code or redesign Windows uniquely for the Korean market, it might be necessary to withdraw Windows from the Korean market or delay offering new versions in Korea,"


    So, if I'm reading it right, Microsoft is saying that they will either not release a "special" version of windows for S. Korea, or that releases will be delayed (presumably to create the modifications required by their Anti-Trust regulations).

    This seems perfectly reasonable. They're not even saying they will necessarily pull windows from the market, it might just take them longer to develop the "MS Vista - S. Korea Version" than it would to release the standard. Nothing to see here... more Microsoft non-news.

    Plus, if S. Korea is saying "play nice" and they say "no" outright, this is still well within their rights, there is no mandate that they must release software for the masses (In fact, SlashThink directly opposes this). More power to S. Korea if they think they can actually pull that off...
  • bye. buh bye. bye. bye. bye. buh bye. buh bye. bye. bye. buh bye.
  • by blackcoot (124938) on Friday October 28, 2005 @12:12PM (#13897197)
    1) open mouth
    2) insert shotgun ...
    $$$ profit! $$$
  • Tsk tsk tsk (Score:2, Funny)

    by SandMonkey (926467)
    My my microsoft in hot water again... what a supprise! Microsoft has so much bad PR now that they may ass well just release "Windows Virus Edition" and just get it all over with!
  • Marbles (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    "Basically, Microsoft is threatening to take their marbles and go home if they don't get the ruling they want."

    I hate to rain on the Microsoft bashing parade, but I think it's more like Korea saying: "We don't like your marbles, change them." And Microsoft saying:"Fuck you guys, I like my marbles the way they are, take them as is or I take them home."
  • So what? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mullen (14656) on Friday October 28, 2005 @12:16PM (#13897251)
    Okay, so what's wrong if Microsoft does not want to sell Windows to the Korean market? If I make a product, I don't have to sell it to you.

    I think this is a great chance for Linux on the desktop to get a toe hold. All those complaining sound like the people who wish for something, then complain when they get it.
  • This would be excellent for us Linux users. The MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) industry sees Korea as a huge market. If they couldn't run their games on Windows, then the game companies would have to port their stuff to Linux to stay in the Korean market. I see this as a win-win all the way around.

    -Runz
  • by Control Group (105494) on Friday October 28, 2005 @12:17PM (#13897259) Homepage
    Oh, please.

    MS isn't going to pull out of South Korea. Everyone involved already knows that. The statement is just part of the usual grandstanding that always goes on with this sort of thing. They won't pull out because it's too large a market to just write off, and they don't want another country deciding to go with a competitor nationwide.
  • Those are, in fact, things that the South Korean government could demand if they found Microsoft to be a monopoly, and filings are supposed to mention such risks that investors take. As unlikely as it may seem to us, if Microsoft is prohibited by the South Korean government from selling Windows, or required to make modifications to the software before they sell it, they might actually comply with the order.
  • "I'm going to fucking kill [uncyclopedia.org] Korea. I'll fucking bury them. I've done it before, and I'll do it again."
  • by MoNsTeR (4403) on Friday October 28, 2005 @12:20PM (#13897290)
    If I don't want to sell you something, by what moral principle could you compel me to do so anyway?

    The "if you're gonna be a shitty customer, I'm gonna ban you from my store" play seems perfectly reaosnable to me.
  • by 8127972 (73495) on Friday October 28, 2005 @12:21PM (#13897299)
    There are three possible explanations:

    1. Microsoft doesn't make a lot of money in South Korea, so they don't care if they're there or not.

    2. This is just a stunt better used by an 8 year old rather than a mult-billion dollar software company.

    3. Microsoft is desperate to hold on to its domination of the planet earth. After all, when you control over 90% of the desktops on earth there's nowhere to go but down.
    • Or...

      4. By giving in to the South Korean demands, MS sets a precedent that other governments start to follow on a per-country basis, fragmenting the features Windows offers worldwide, raising the cost of Windows development/shipment and increasing the likelihood of compatibility problems for applications.

      That's not too far fetched really. All you need is individual countries to start asking for the removal or inclusion of features and suddenly your easy to ship, globally compatible product turns into a ni
  • My thoughts on this:

    Initially: If Google threatened to stop offering services for France/German users, they can get around those pesky censorship laws. I doubt people would be arguing there. In a millionth of a second, there'd be dozens of replies: it's not the same, killing someone and evading taxes are both 'crimes' but they aren't equal. Microsoft has been convicted and investgated for antitrust issues in multiple countries - I'm willing to go with "MS is bad".

    That being said, MS still has the right t
  • by foniksonik (573572) on Friday October 28, 2005 @12:25PM (#13897343) Homepage Journal
    This is the correct response to not getting your way, at least in commerce. When the consumer doesn't like the product as it is and demands that it change before they buy it, the distributor or manufacturer has every right to say "fine, then we won't sell it to you."

    S. Korea should invest heavily in Apple and then buy Apple PCs for desktops and use Linux for Servers... that will show Microsoft they aren't the only player on the block. They may have a lot of Marbles, but Apples are perttier and don't break as often when used.... Linux has great Smashers.... they're not pretty but they do the job really well.

  • South Korea said, "that's ok, we'll just use Linux and WINE." Buh-zing Microsoft.
  • by rlp (11898)
    You could construe MS's statement as a threat. Or, it could be simply a caveat to investors i.e. - we have legal concerns that may force us to remove our product from Korea or delay Windows Vista deployment. MS has a legal obligation to warn investers of concerns that they know about that could effect the bottom line, and hence the stock price. To do otherwise invites class action suits.
  • I always wondered why they didnt try this in Europe.

    It would have been a HUGE hit to the EC to say, hey weve got a solution you dont get any MS products anymore PERIOD
    While it may have been seen as a bluff , closing a few dozen MS office woulda scared the HELL out of the European Commision.

    Right or Wrong there is NO WAY POSSIBLE the EC Could have explained it was doing good when no customer in Europe could upgrade, buy, etc. The people would have dissolved the damm comission.
  • When the Justice Department and other anti-trust parties asked Microsoft to separate IE from the OS, Microsoft said the same thing on withdrawing Windows 98/2000 running out there. Well, back then Desktop Linux wasn't ready to challenge it (remember, OpenOffice.org and Mozilla/Firefox didn't reach 1.0 until 2002).

    Now, Microsoft wants to pull the same feat again; should Korean government back down? Hmm, tough call. But if I were to make IT procurement decision for Korean government, it should be a sign that
  • by JustNiz (692889) on Friday October 28, 2005 @12:31PM (#13897396)
    to make Microsoft withdraw from the rest of the world too...
  • So, if Microsoft withdrew Windows from the Korean market, could Korean citizens in the future access their goverment documents saved already in Microsoft formats? Extrapolate, please, to Massachusetts. Now do you understand why the government there wants to rely only on open standards and open formats for digital documents?

    from MS Threatens S. Korea & "Just Say No to Microsoft [groklaw.net]

  • by Catbeller (118204) on Friday October 28, 2005 @12:34PM (#13897433) Homepage
    A monopoly corporation can dictate terms to an entire nation, demanding to be exempt from their laws. Let them do what they want, or they cripple South Korea. Who will stop them?

    How Bush fucked us over, #34,451: appointing industry lobby lawyers to the Justice Department who simply ignored the findings of the courts, letting Microsoft go unmolested and whole at the beginning of this numskull's reign. The world will be paying for that for another decade.

    Go Linux. It's the pinhole of sunlight you sight at the top of the rubble blocking the collapsed mineshaft entrance. We might make it out of here...

     
  • But what about? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jkind (922585) on Friday October 28, 2005 @12:37PM (#13897457) Homepage
  • by grendelkhan (168481) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .sttekcirttocs.> on Friday October 28, 2005 @12:44PM (#13897513) Journal
    Do what we say and no one gets hurt.
  • by Eric Damron (553630) on Friday October 28, 2005 @12:48PM (#13897562)
    This is EXACTLY why Massachusetts and ALL governments should insist on open formats for public records. It's not right that public records be held hostage!

    What would happen if Microsoft's proprietary XML format was used and Microsoft told Massachusetts that if they didn't get their way they would stop selling Windows in that state? How would the public continue to access their own public records?

    It amazes me that some people can't see this danger.
  • by It doesn't come easy (695416) * on Friday October 28, 2005 @01:11PM (#13897830) Journal
    PJ made a very good point over at Groklaw [groklaw.net]. Consider: If you are the South Korean government, and you have historical documents written in Word, Excel, etc., and you play by the rules (i.e. you honor Microsoft's copyright, you buy Windows licenses for all your systems, etc.), and all of a sudden you cannot buy a new copy of Windows legally, what do you do? Keep running the old copies and never upgrade from then on?

    This is exactly the problem with proprietary file formats. I would say that Microsoft's statement is destined to show up in a large number of conversations about OpenDocument and why it's the right thing to do...
  • The door.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Rolan (20257) * on Friday October 28, 2005 @02:16PM (#13898426) Homepage Journal
    Don't let it hit you in the ass on the way out. Asia already has a high penetration of Linux, if Microsoft leaves....all the better for Linux.
  • So... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anita Coney (648748) on Friday October 28, 2005 @02:59PM (#13898744) Homepage
    ... how in the fuck does S. Korea get so damn lucky? What? Leaders with backbones?! What's that?!

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