EU vs. MS

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The European Union is getting set to ankle Microsoft.

While that unfolds, check out Reason's November 2001 article about the the foolish precedents behind the U.S.'s case against the software behemoth.

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  1. If only they would just go after then for writing bad software

  2. Antitrust is evil, and so is MS. MS is a monopoly and the government is the hired muscle that keeps it one. MS extorts money from everybody through the abuse of IP law.

    We don’t need the government to sue MS under antitrust, we need them to stop oppressing would be competition through IP.

  3. Well, the case is hardly closed. Any decision can and will be appealed, and as I recall, several of the draconian anti-trust decisions in the past few years have been overturned.

  4. Sometimes I get the feeling that folks like Nick don’t know that there are appeals processes in Europe, and that we do have due process and such.

  5. “MS extorts money from everybody through the abuse of IP law.”

    Most of the remedies suggested against MS are attempts to get it to open up its source, which it keeps closed precisely because it knows that IP law will not protect it.

  6. The main effect of antitrust law has been to REDUCE competition. According to Gabriel Kolko, the “unfair practices” provisions of the Clayton Act, designed to prevent price wars, were the equivalent of creating a State-sponsored trade association to regulate competition between major firms. The trusts had previously been losing business steadily to more efficient and less leveraged and watered-down small competitors. But with the Clayton Act, market shares finally stopped eroding and stable oligopolies became the norm.

    It’s interesting to me that the largest scale antitrust actions have all involved some centrally important resource or infrastructure (or operating system) that was vital to the corporatist economy as a whole, and in which a majority of large corporations had a common interest in preventing one actor from having a deadlock on something they all needed. The words “executive committee of the ruling class” come to mind.

  7. Since taking office, the Bush administration has expanded antitrust’s reach far beyond the “Get Microsoft” mentality of the Clinton DOJ. One of the more frightening cases was the DOJ’s decision to prosecute antitrust charges in the “alternative newsweekly” market against Village Voice and NT Media. In its filings in that case, the DOJ explicitly rejected the notion that the antitrust laws are subservient to the First Amendment.

  8. I figure these antitrust suits against Microsoft are rather like the tobacco suits: a device to extract money from a successful but unpopular business. Basically a tax pretending to be a lawsuit. I expect similar things will happen to fast food, alcohol, etc.

    I also suspect DC decided to make an example of Microsoft because it didn’t hand out protection – er – campaign contributions left and right. (It didn’t back in the 90s, it does now, I understand).

  9. John Galt:

    Yeah, I know, I know, big business is an “oppressed minority.” And Bill Gates is a rugged individualist–just like the folks at Lockheed-Martin. Fear not, Virginia, as long as there’s a taxpayer teat to suck on, there’ll always be Bill Gateses.

    You sure you’re not James Taggart in disguise?

  10. Guess you’re right, Kevin. Should’ve worded it …

    “until all capitalist enterprises simply morph into the myriad Mom & Pop Small Businesses that will light up the land, shining their thousand points of taxable teats all across the USA.”

    Better?

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