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  The EU vs. Microsoft: A Rugged Endgame
Time: 13:46 EST/18:46 GMT | News Source: Business Week Online | Posted By: Alex Harris

The one principle Microsoft Chairman William H. Gates III will defend to the end is his company's right to have complete control over the design of its products. Once again, that is being challenged. On Aug. 6, the European Commission's competition czar Mario Monti sent Microsoft a third and final "statement of objections," giving the company one last chance to respond to allegations that it is illegally leveraging its Windows operating system monopoly to gain unfair advantage in the server and audiovisual software markets. To bolster his case, Monti has gathered more evidence from consumers, suppliers, and rivals to show "abuses are still ongoing."

The end of Microsoft's four-year-old case is near, and Monti is digging in for a fight. In a press statement, he laid out potential remedies and revived the key policy issue facing global software: to what extent Microsoft can freely bundle new technologies into its monopoly operating system. While U.S. regulators have allowed Microsoft to do that, rivals see Monti as their last best hope to constrain the giant. His statement left them ecstatic. "The Commission's case has been really nailed down," says Thomas Vinje, a lawyer for the Computer & Communications Industry Assn., a trade group of Microsoft's rivals.

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#1 By 8062 ( at 8/8/2003 3:26:13 PM
Just what the world needs...another Italian dictator.

#2 By 16302 ( at 8/8/2003 5:41:13 PM
Is this really feasible in a global economy? What would happen if Microsoft said: ok, here is your EU version and by the way - it doesn't boot witout IE and media player (does this sound familiar?) and then offer the rest of the world its full version of Windows for the same price?

On another topic, the only way that this could even be remotely fair is that if the same restrictions were placed on all other operating systems as well. Yes, this would not be ideal, but at least it would put everyone on equal playing fields. I would bet that Sun, Apple, and the Linux crew would have significant objections to not including these features in their OS as well.

I think the last thing that this industry needs is more government regulation. Particularly if every government in the world has it's own set of regulations and specifications.... man, would software get more expensive and in many parts of the world, it would probably not be economically feasible to offer some software.

#3 By 7390 ( at 8/9/2003 9:06:24 AM
EU = idiots.

#4 By 1845 ( at 8/9/2003 2:41:51 PM

The proper way for government to get involved in foriegn economic policy would be to impose tarrifs or similar price controls, then on the domestic side they can subsidize software development. Suing a foriegn company, dragging on an investigation for several years, and then imposing a rediculous fine, is not good government.

#5 By 7390 ( at 8/9/2003 5:27:11 PM
Don = Idiot

clearly he doesn't understand foreign affairs.

They don't have to use MS products, they don't have to use US products. It just so happens that MS provides the best tool(s) for them and they can't stand it. So they are using their government to intervene.

and as others have stated why stop at the media player? why not office suit, TCPIP stack, calculator, Browser...

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