Re: POL: Reaction to Microsoft Ruling

From: Charlie Stross (
Date: Mon Apr 10 2000 - 08:59:11 MDT

On Mon, Apr 10, 2000 at 08:26:45AM -0400, Michael S. Lorrey wrote:
> Not so. Foreign companies cannot have anti-trust actions brought against
> them, only US based companies can be charged with such 'crimes'.

Uh-huh. Then the EU anti-trust investigation into Microsoft must be
imaginary, right?

Most other countries have _tougher_ anti-trust laws than the US. The
EU and the DOJ had a "gentleman's agreement" not to duplicate effort
while one of 'em was investigating -- now that MS has been found guilty
in the US, the EU investigation is rolling ahead.

(Oh, and then there's the French investigation. _That_ one is dynamite --
the charges are extremely serious and typically carry prison sentences
for the directors of companies found guilty under them, because the
French charges aren't about anti-trust -- they're anti-FRAUD, and they
allege that Microsoft defrauded the French government. Oops ...)

> Especially if MS has no actual offices left here, they are merely an OEM
> supplier to PC makers and software distributors, or they just distribute
> over the ineternet. Foreign traders can only be charged with anti-trust
> crimes if they are American citizens or American based corporations, or
> the American based divisions of foreign corporations.
Microsoft occupies a similar monopoly position in the rest of the world,
if not a tighter one -- and typically charges more for its software.

> Now, Bill would be dumb to fire all of his employees, however buying an
> island and developing it for use by as many of his current employees
> that want to move there, then simply subcontract the rest who want to
> stay in Redmond, would be rather easy.

And put him outside NAFTA and the EU, making him vulnerable to import
duty and other taxes.

-- Charlie

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