Feeds

Court tells EU to reopen MS antitrust investigation

Naughty Commission's been sitting on its hands too hard...

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

A French software reseller may have forced the European Commission to reopen an investigation into Microsoft, following a decision by a European court earlier today. The Commission dismissed a complaint made to it by Micro Leader Business in 1996 last year, but the EU's lower court, the Court of First Instance, has now ruled that it was wrong to do so. Micro Leader had been importing French-language Microsoft software from Canada, but was blocked from doing so by Microsoft. The French company claims that this was a violation of European antitrust rules, as the move stopped the company from competing with Microsoft's 'official' French channel. The Commission threw the complaint out on the basis that banning cheap imports was not in itself evidence that Microsoft was colluding with its channel partners to fix prices. Lesser intellects might muse that keeping out cheap product might in some way be connected with maintaining higher prices, but the Commission no doubt had its reasons. These might themselves be connected with its decision not to pursue Micro Leader's other claim, that Microsoft was abusing a monopoly position (stop us if you've heard that one before). The court thinks the Commission got that one wrong as well, but it's easy to see why. In the run-up to the US Government's antitrust action against Microsoft the US authorities and the European Commission divvied up responsibility for antitrust action. This was done for fairly logical reasons, as it clearly doesn't make sense for both the US and the European authorities to go after the same companies, perhaps coming up with embarrassingly divergent conclusions. The DoJ drew Microsoft, and Europe studiously stood well back, reserving its rights to join in later if it didn't like the outcome. Its eagerness to avoid pursuing Micro Leader's claims is therefore eminently explicable, if possibly legally wrong. The Commission can now reopen the investigation, or lodge an appeal during the next two months. If it chooses not to appeal, it's perfectly possible that various other European claims against Microsoft (several of them also French) could start to rattle out of the closet. Another millennium, another antitrust investigation... ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple ran off to IBM
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Nadella: Apps must run on ALL WINDOWS – PCs, slabs and mobes
Phone egg, meet desktop chicken - your mother
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Samsung threatens to cut ties with supplier over child labour allegations
Vows to uphold 'zero tolerance' policy on underage workers
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.