DOJ: EU ruling against MS was too harsh

— 10:46 AM on March 25, 2004

I understand the need to protect one's own citizens and, perhaps, companies from interventions by foreign governments, but when the assistant attorney general says the EU went too far in its antitrust action against Microsoft, I have to laugh. Or perhaps cry. Here's part of the argument he's making:

The U.S. settlement with Microsoft provides "clear and effective protection" for competition and consumers by preventing misconduct by Microsoft that would inhibit competition in the area of middleware applications such as the Web browser and the media player, Pate said.

"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," he said.

The rhetoric sounds right, but it doesn't apply to the situation, does it? Microsoft is nothing if not predatory, stifling of innovation from dynamic competitors, and underhanded, as its apparent funding of the SCO legal crusade shows. How can its media player moves be interpreted as anything less than MS leveraging its Windows near-monopoly to dominate an emerging market? One can be generally committed to free markets and still seek for forces like Microsoft to be put into check.
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