After six months of investigation into Microsoft's alleged anti-competitive business practices, Taiwan's Fair Trade Commission (FTC) has agreed to begin the procedure of administrative settlement of the charges. At the request of the software giant, Taiwan will now work with Microsoft to negotiate a settlement with which both sides can agree. Not coincidentally, the attempted settlement comes just days after Microsoft announced plans to set up a $23 million technology center in Taiwan.

"To solve the dispute, the FTC has in principle agreed to accept Microsoft's request to begin the procedure of administrative settlement," a Taiwan FTC spokesperson said this week. The FTC will review Microsoft's proposed settlement and then respond, the spokesperson noted.

Microsoft's Taiwan investigation began in May 2002 when the Taiwan FTC organized a taskforce to probe allegations that the software giant was abusing its market power in the country to harm competitors and fix software prices. Taiwan's investigation is similar to high profile antitrust investigations against the company in Europe and the United States.