Feeds

Likely MS remedies: breaking up is hard to do

We look at the options the court faces

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Special report The last few days have seen a plethora of possibly remedies to deal with Microsoft put forward, but the point many of them miss is that remedies that harm users would be foolish. Nor is it the court's role or objective to punish Microsoft, in this case at least. Any approach to remedies has to start at the present position: there is no going back to re-argue issues, the facts or conclusions established during the trial. Even Microsoft is unusually subdued; it hasn't put forward any substantive argument that the findings of fact are untrue, or that the conclusions of law are illogical. Presumably it is keeping its powder dry, and hoping to put its faith in the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. Antitrust law is based on the assumption that a competitive marketplace is more likely to result in a better products for users, at better prices. The remedies to return to a situation where competition could flourish must be in the realm of the legally possible, and achieve what is best for consumers, Microsoft's competitors, and possible new entrants. There is a requirement that an effective way should be found to stop the illegal behaviour, and to reduce barriers to market entry for future competitors. Punishment is not directly part of the remedies, but it is a likely consequence. As we have pointed out many times, there can be no financial penalty as a result of the present case, although it may well transpire that Microsoft suffers very seriously as a result of the imposed remedies. To a fair extent, this has happened already in that Microsoft has lost clout with much of the trade press, and many users are waking up to realise that they have never had a choice of operating system. The best systematic appraisals of Microsoft and consideration of remedies have been at the two Appraising Microsoft conferences arranged in Washington by that old pro of righting wrongs, consumer advocate Ralph Nader. Users, the industry, and Microsoft (at the second conference on possible remedies) put forward detailed views, and the proceedings of these meetings provide some rich background material. Nader commented on Judge Jackson's recent Conclusions that "Microsoft doesn't respect antitrust laws... can't be trusted... and has shown contempt for any court-imposed changes in its conduct". He called for the break up of the monopoly into operating systems, applications companies, and the divestment of its browser. There are two broad possibilities: behavioural remedies, and structural or divestment remedies, with each having several variants. The consent decree that Microsoft signed was a behavioural remedy, and in view of subsequent events, there is little expectation that such an approach would be any more successful this time around. ® Next part: Behavioural remedies - curbing Microsoft's conduct

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Spies, avert eyes! Tim Berners-Lee demands a UK digital bill of rights
Lobbies tetchy MPs 'to end indiscriminate online surveillance'
How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?
Can you hear the difference? Can anyone?
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
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.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.