Feeds

Bristol case: how MS escaped the guilty verdict

No 'relevant market,' no monopoly, so no case, said jury

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

MS on Trial Bristol's antitrust claim against Microsoft appears to have foundered at the first hurdle, with the jury deciding that there was no "relevant market" for operating systems for either technical workstations or departmental servers. If there's no relevant market, then there's no monopoly, so there's no antitrust case to answer. A Bristol spokeswoman expressed puzzlement at the jury's conclusion here, "since this was not a point that was even contested by Microsoft." The key to the jury's decision, which effectively ruled out any need to consider the major antitrust action any further, and narrowed the case to deception under the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (Microsoft was found guilty of these, and fined $1), was a verdict form they were given in order to help them reach a decision. The verdict form The form begins as follows: "1. Has Bristol proven that a relevant market exists for operating systems for technical workstations? "(If you answered 'Yes' proceed to Question 2. If you answered 'No', skip to Section II, which begins at Question 10.)" The same question is asked of the departmental server market, and as the jury answered no in both instances, that was the end of the matter. The balance of the debate in the jury room must therefore have been over the "deceptive act" that Microsoft was decided to have committed. It's not yet clear which of the numerous possible deceptions put forward in the evidence this applies to, or indeed whether the jury felt that it was all one big deception, but that the damage caused was negligible. Nevertheless, it seems that the jury was baffled by the definition of operating systems markets, and has come down in favour of the Microsoft argument that in business you play hardball, but that using all the ammunition you have to manoeuvre for position is OK, because everybody does it. Legally this is sustainable so long as no monopoly is proven, because it is the misuse of a monopoly that antitrust law hinges on. So although the Bristol verdict will undoubtedly have helped Microsoft's morale, it doesn't have any effect on the other outstanding antitrust actions. The major DoJ one still looks likely to go against Microsoft, and although the Caldera one hasn't even started yet, Caldera has already produced a lot of grisly evidence. ® Complete Register Trial coverage

Website security in corporate America

More from The Register

next story
Hey, Scots. Microsoft's Bing thinks you'll vote NO to independence
World's top Google-finding website calls it for the UK
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
OECD lashes out at tax avoiding globocorps' location-flipping antics
You hear that, Amazon, Google, Microsoft et al?
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.