After a four-year investigation of Microsoft by the South Korean Fair Trade Commission (KFTC), the software giant has threatened to take its ball and go home. The commission is looking into whether Microsoft’s inclusion of its instant messaging software and media player in Windows violates the country’s antitrust laws. In a new turn, Microsoft has said it may be forced to withdraw Windows from South Korea entirely if the KFTC requires it to tailor a version of Windows specifically for the country.
First off, let me boggle about the fact that a company is bluffing an entire country. Globalization in action.
Next, let me get excited that if MS were to do what it is threatening to do, then all those great Korean MMO games would likely move to either Linux or Mac OS X. Now, there’s something to get excited about.
On the other hand, if MS can’t bluff the state of Massachusetts, why does it think it can bluff South Korea?
But, they as much as say that they aren’t going to do it. They say “we’ll pull Windows from your country … or, um, maybe … we’d release a version with different features.” That’s a pretty weak threat, really.
It’s not that much different than how MS supports standards of any kind, just that this standard is a minimal set. MS will implement a standard in a poor way on their system, then point to the straw-man they have created as proof that their own proprietary format is better than the standard. Just one example, look at how the implementation of IMAP in MS products silently unsubscribes the client from shared namespaces. Why? Because it’s competition for Exchange. So, they can claim IMAP support, but not deliver to the client some of the most advanced features. Or, for that matter look at CSS support or the failure to offer PNG support in IE … the list goes on.
So, they threaten, well, offer to support a minimal set of features, and they will do everything they can to make it an annoyingly poor implementation and then whine and prevaricate about how horrible this is in comparison to the full feature set they would have implemented, if it hadn’t been for that interference.
Just read the old articles about MS in court about removing IE, and there’s the pattern of their argument there too.