The Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) has rejected an appeal by Microsoft to reconsider a multi-million dollar fine and other penalties levied against the software maker earlier this year.

In February the KFTC concluded a 21-month investigation into Microsoft's business practices in South Korea by ordering the company to pay a 33 billion won ($35.2 million) fine and offer two versions of its Windows XP operating system in the country, one without Windows Media Player and Windows Messenger and another that includes links to sites offering rival software.

Microsoft was given until August 24 to comply with the decision. In response it filed two appeals: one with the Seoul High Court over the decision and one with the KFTC to reconsider its decision. The KFTC said Monday that it would not alter its judgement.

"We respect the Korea Fair Trade Commission's decision. However, Microsoft believes it has complied with Korean competition laws, and has conducted business for the benefit of the consumers in Korea," said Oliver Roll, a regional spokesman for Microsoft in Singapore. "We will continue to defend our position."

Microsoft expects the Seoul High Court appeal to take a couple of years before a final ruling is issued. In the meantime Microsoft is looking for the court to issue a stay on the KFTC's judgement so that it won't have to release the new Windows versions in August.

The KFTC investigation was sparked by complaints made to the KFTC by local portal-site operator Daum Communications in 2001 and by RealNetworks in 2004. Both complaints concerned bundling of software with the Windows operating system.