Feeds

France opens probe into MS Windows monopoly

Wonders why you can't buy PCs without Windows. Now, there's a question...

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Build a business case: developing custom apps

The French finance ministry has opened an investigation into Microsoft, according to the local press. Apparently it has come to the ministry's attention that it's well-nigh impossible to buy a new PC that doesn't come with Windows pre-installed, so the French authorities will be asking why this is, and whether it harms consumers. These two questions, readers of The Register's trial coverage will have noted, are inextricably bound together. Microsoft discount structures and MDAs (Market Development Agreements) make it prohibitively expensive for PC OEMs to ship rival operating systems, which results in a reduction in consumer choice, and in what is to all intents and purposes a monopoly of the desktop OS market (precise conclusion currently sub judice) for Microsoft. Microsoft can and does fix prices (search trial coverage for 'Kempin' for more details), so the FF64k question is whether MS fixes them nicely or nastily, and whether French consumers would be better off if they could get, say, Linux or BeOS PCs. But it's not clear how intensively the ministry intends to investigate. It says it's had quantities of complaints, and will be producing a report which, depending on findings, could be referred to antitrust authorities. If it finds things it doesn't like France might decide to go it alone, but ultimate responsibility will still lie with the EU. Brussels and the US antitrust authorities currently have a mutual agreement whereby they try not to duplicate investigations, and as far as the matter of Microsoft is concerned, the US is lead member. That of course could change if the result of the current antitrust trial is viewed as unpalatable by Brussels, but until the dust settles Europe's preference will be to avoid getting involved in a duplicate bust. Whether France will agree with this could of course be an entirely different matter. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE
Can't face sea of wobbling fondle implements. What happened to lighters, eh?
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Ballmer leaves Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Online tat bazaar eBay coughs to YET ANOTHER outage
Web-based flea market struck dumb by size and scale of fail
Amazon takes swipe at PayPal, Square with card reader for mobes
Etailer plans to undercut rivals with low transaction fee offer
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
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.