Thursday, March 25, 2004

Antitrust News: Senate Leader Slams EU Over Microsoft Ruling

This from Reuters:

The U.S. Senate majority leader on Wednesday attacked European regulators' decision to impose stiff antitrust sanctions on Microsoft Corp. and expressed fears of a transatlantic trade war.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a Republican from Tennessee, said the requirement that Microsoft change the way it designs and sells its Windows operating system was "preposterous."
Hehehe. Only US laws can slam Microsoft.

And this from R. Hewitt Pate, Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust,

"The EC has today pursued a different enforcement approach by imposing a 'code removal' remedy to resolve its media player concerns. The U.S. experience tells us that the best antitrust remedies eliminate impediments to the healthy functioning of competitive markets without hindering successful competitors or imposing burdens on third parties, which may result from the EC's remedy. A requirement of 'code removal' was not at any time -- including during the period when the U.S. was seeking a breakup of Microsoft prior to the rejection of that remedy by the court of appeals -- part of the United States' proposed remedy.

"Imposing antitrust liability on the basis of product enhancements and imposing 'code removal' remedies may produce unintended consequences. Sound antitrust policy must avoid chilling innovation and competition even by 'dominant' companies. A contrary approach risks protecting competitors, not competition, in ways that may ultimately harm innovation and the consumers that benefit from it. It is significant that the U.S. district court considered and rejected a similar remedy in the U.S. litigation.
Pate is amazing. The whole point of antitrust is to hinder successful competitors.

As predicted, Americans are condemning the excesses of the EU's enforcement, but they are not questioning its fundamentals.

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