Re: POL: Reaction to Microsoft Ruling

From: Michael S. Lorrey (
Date: Mon Apr 10 2000 - 11:23:28 MDT

Charlie Stross wrote:

> On Mon, Apr 10, 2000 at 11:56:41AM -0400, Michael S. Lorrey wrote:
> > >
> > > Uh-huh. Then the EU anti-trust investigation into Microsoft must be
> > > imaginary, right?
> >
> > Microsoft's european operations can probably be investigated, but the EU has no
> > extraterritorial authority, esp re a US corp. They can certainly regulate MS's
> > business practices in europe if they so choose, but they certainly cannot impose
> > any remedies upon MS corporation proper.
> Yes it can. If Microsoft wants to trade in Europe it must abide by EU
> laws. Don't want to obey the law? Take the penalty, or get out. Microsoft
> has lots of employees based in Europe, and they're sure as hell vulnerable
> to this sort of thing.
> Microsoft _can_ side-step an EU anti-trust investigation -- all they have
> to do is stop selling Windows anywhere in the EU, at which point they
> aren't a monopoly any more. If they _want_ to sell Windows in that
> environment ...

So if MS only sells to the euro market via internet downloads.... what possible
actions can the eu countries take?

> > > (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 ...)
> >
> > Extra-territoriality again. They gonna send the Foreign Legion into the US to
> > arrest Bill Gates?
> Quite possibly, knowing the French ... but remember, Microsoft is behaving
> extra-territorially. In the event, I expect they'll just lock up the
> directors of Microsoft's French subsidiary, and/or fine the company, and
> maybe put out an extradition warrant for Bill.

I'm not the worlds biggest fan of Bill Gates, but even I can tell you that if the
French try something like this, its gonna piss off a lot of Americans. You guys think
the Banana War got nasty? Y'ain't seen NUTHIN' yet. Expect things like french wines
getting smashed on the docks, cheeses getting tossed into Elliott Bay... a whole
Seattle Frog Festival to mirror the Boston Tea Party...

> > > Microsoft occupies a similar monopoly position in the rest of the world,
> > > if not a tighter one -- and typically charges more for its software.
> >
> > Hardly. China, for example, the communist party bosses who have been pirating so
> > much MS software control a greater monopoly position in the chinese software
> > market than MS does. Just because the market uses MS software that is pirated
> > doesn't mean you can say MS monopolizes the market.
> Rest of world != China. Plus, they hardly have a monopoly on it -- they
> merely steal the most of it.

I merely used them as an example, as I had hoped you could comprehend by the simple
English. Any higher rates for software elsewhere in the world are because of the
a) added cost of language customization
b) added cost of piracy in that market
c) import tariffs by the importing country
d) value added taxes on distribution in those countries.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jul 27 2000 - 14:09:12 MDT