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

High performance access to file storage

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. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
Sorry London, Europe's top tech city is Munich
New 'Atlas of ICT Activity' finds innovation isn't happening at Silicon Roundabout
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.