Tuesday, September 18, 2007

WSJ on Microsoft's EU Waterloo

The Wall Street Journal folk are less than impressed that the EU court of first instance rejected Microsoft's appeal against the EU's antitrust ruling. (Full article only available to subscribers)

"The ruling by the European Union's second most powerful court was a judicial slam dunk for Brussels. The court upheld the European Commission's 2004 judgment that Microsoft had abused the dominance of its Windows operating system... and affirmed the record €497 million fine that Brussels levied on the company.

The decision was clear and emphatic... We can't think of anything else good to say about this outcome...

Microsoft's general counsel, Brad Smith, points out that Apple's iPod dominates the MP3 player market, in which Microsoft's Zune is the underdog, and that Google's search engine has whipped Microsoft's MSN and all other comers... Mr. Smith seems to be implying that two can play at this game of making "strategic complaints."

Firms that do so risk little of their own time, energy or money. Once it takes up a case, the Commission does the heavy lifting. The targeted companies incur huge costs to defend themselves. European regulators, and now judges, apparently believe that the proper venue for competition among technology companies is in the courtrooms rather than research labs. Everyone will be worse off, except, of course, lawyers."

Update: The EU Commissioner is not very happy with the DOJ for criticised the Microsoft decision in the EU Court of First Instance.

"A U.S. official's criticism of a European Union court ruling dismissing Microsoft's monopoly abuse appeal was "totally unacceptable," EU antitrust chief Neelie Kroes said Wednesday.

Kroes said it was wrong for a representative of the U.S. administration to criticize "an independent court of law outside its jurisdiction."

"The European Commission does not pass judgment on rulings by U.S. courts and we expect the same degree of respect from U.S. authorities on rulings by EU courts," she said. "It is absolutely not done.""

No comments: