The Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) announced on Feb. 5 that it accepted a consent decision to Microsoft regarding business consolidation between Microsoft and Nokia.
An official from the KFTC said, “We have decided to go through the approval process for the deal, considering the fact that Microsoft can address concerns over restrictions on competition, including the abuse of patents and key information sharing, through its voluntary corrective measures. However, there is still one more procedure left for the final approval of the business combination.”
Previously, Microsoft made a contract to take over Nokia’s cell phone business in Sept. 2013 and reported its business combination to the KFTC two months later.
However, there were concerns that Microsoft could conduct unfair business practices, including an excessive rise in patent fees to other smartphone manufacturers, when Microsoft, which holds numerous patents related to smartphones, combines its business with Nokia.
Regarding the issue, Microsoft applied for the consent decision, which includes the preventive measures of unfair business practices from the business combination, to the KFTC in August last year. In the consent decision, it says that Microsoft will comply with reasonable terms when it permits other smartphone manufactures to use its patents and will not file a suit against them for the prohibition of sale.
Also, it includes that Microsoft will not raise the current patent fees in the next 7 years, and it will not share key information about management with Nokia.
An official from the KFTC said, “We will actively collect various opinions of interested parties when pursuing the consent decision in the future.” The KFTC is planning to finalize the decision soon after collecting opinions.
The KFTC said that its international counterparts, including China and Taiwan, also gave conditional approval of the Microsoft/Nokia merger due to the concerns over the abuse of patents from Microsoft.