The new president of Microsoft Japan said Wednesday the U.S. software giant will continue to invest heavily in the Japanese market and played down the contentious nature of the ongoing hearings with the Fair Trade Commission.

Darren Huston, a Canadian who took office as president of the Microsoft Corp. subsidiary this month, said Microsoft is determined to continue to build partnerships with electronics companies here, including Fujitsu Ltd., Toshiba Corp. and NEC Corp., as well as with schools and the government.

Microsoft, based in Redmond, Wash., dominates Japan’s PC software market as it does in other nations, and it also boasts a relatively positive image here.

In branding research by the Nihon Keizai Shimbun published Tuesday, Microsoft ranked No. 1, surpassing runnerup Toyota Motor Corp. and fourth-ranked Sony Corp.

But Microsoft has suffered a setback in some areas with its relations with the government.

Since last year, hearings have been going on with the FTC over a clause Microsoft has in contracts that the commission says may hurt fair competition and discourage Japanese manufacturers from innovating because they can’t sue for damages over patent and copyright infringement.

Microsoft says the clause, which has been dropped from new contracts, is legal and benefits consumers. The antimonopoly watchdog is demanding the clause be dropped in contracts signed in the past, a demand Microsoft has rejected.

Huston, who has worked in Japan with U.S. coffee chain Starbucks Coffee Co., played down the hearings, saying that even calling it “a fight” isn’t accurate.

” ‘Fighting’ is a very strong word. It’s not like that. It’s a collegial conversation about a topic,” he told reporters after a news conference at a Tokyo hotel. He refused to elaborate.

Microsoft does not disclose yen or dollar figures for its Japan operations, but Huston said investments in Japan for corporate citizenship, including working with schools and teaching the elderly about gadgets, will double this year from the previous year.

Microsoft also has an agreement with the National Police Agency to fight cybercrime.

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