TAIPEI (AFP) — Taiwan's Fair Trade Commission said Monday it has launched an investigation into whether Microsoft Corp is abusing its monopoly status to force consumers to buy its Windows Vista operating system.
The probe came after a complaint filed by the Consumers' Foundation, which accused Microsoft of violating Taiwan's fair trade act by ending sales of its Windows XP operating system in most computers from June and forcing consumers to upgrade to Vista.
"We are just beginning to probe Microsoft's conduct, looking at whether it uses the monopoly advantage in the market to sell Vista. We want to ensure fair market competition will be maintained," said a Fair Trade Commission official.
The investigation is expected to take at least six months, the official said.
"Since Microsoft is a multinational company, it is possible for us to have a longer probe," she said.
According to Taiwan's fair trade act, no enterprises are allowed to abuse their market power by directly or indirectly preventing any rivals from competing through unfair means.
The official said if the commission determines Microsoft has violated fair trade rules, the company will be required to stop the conduct and face a fine of up to 25 million Taiwan dollars (799,000 US).
Microsoft was not immediately available for comment.
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