Feeds

Likely MS remedies: breaking up is hard to do

We look at the options the court faces

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Lords take revenge on REVENGE PORN publishers
Jilted Johns and Jennies with busy fingers face two years inside
Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook
New iPhone biz baron points to Apple's (his) greatest successes
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
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.