Re: POL: Reaction to Microsoft Ruling

From: Michael S. Lorrey (
Date: Tue Apr 11 2000 - 20:14:35 MDT

Charlie Stross wrote:
> On Mon, Apr 10, 2000 at 01:23:28PM -0400, Michael S. Lorrey wrote:
> > >
> > > 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?
> Several, without even insisting that all European ISPs block Microsoft's
> web sites.
> They can issue a court order for damages. If a criminal offense is found
> to have happened -- such as a conviction for bribery -- they can issue
> an extradition warrant and the US government _will_ cooperate with that
> (as a quid pro quo for delivering fugitive American criminals back to
> their own jurisdiction).

Not so. Extradition warrants only apply if the actual individual
committed the actual crime (AND it has to be a crime that is on the
treaty) in european jurisdiction, and the individual fled that
jurisdiction. And considering how well you europeans obey the
extradition treaties we do have (Ira Einhorn ring a bell?) for real
crimes, I don't think its very freaking likely we'll be shipping anybody
over there soon to answer to the socialist peoples re-education and
property re-distribution court system.

> They can ban the use of Microsoft products from all government and
> government funded organisations -- right down to the file format
> level. It'll hurt in the short term, but what do you think the long-term
> prospects would be for Corel, Apple, Red Hat, if suddenly Microsoft was
> banned from European government bureacracies? It'd knock a major plank
> out from the raft of network externalities that shore up Microsoft's
> retail sales base.

Considering that europe is far more dependent upon US high tech than we
are dependent upon europe, you'd be cutting your own throats to do
something like that, and we'd be laughing all the way to the bank.

> Moreover, some of Microsoft's products aren't downloadable over the web.
> Knock out the MCSE training/certification network in Europe and qualified
> support for Microsoft's remaining products would dwindle.

Sounds like you folks have got a nice totalitarian socialist big brother
system set up and running to accomplish all this. Figures.

> None of this would amount to decreeing that some other supplier of choice
> would take over from Microsoft; it merely amounts to the point that it is
> difficult to sell to a hostile market, and the EU governments would suddenly
> become such a market, and a lot of the non-governmental sector would follow
> their lead.

Until it became too expensive to trade in a Windows world using
Socialistsoft Curtains(tm)...

> > > 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.
> The French government pisses off a lot of people here, too (but sometimes
> their ability to insounciantly get right up a deserving nostril earns
> them fans).
> > > 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
> > following:
> > a) added cost of language customization
> Then why does Windows cost 50% more in the UK? Where piracy levels are
> zip and there's no import tarrif? (That's the pre-tax cost, BTW.)

You obviously don't understand the actual taxes that go on at the
various levels of distribution and pre-sales. Additionally, there IS
significant language customization for even UK versions of windows.
There is US English and UK English. Surely you know this....

> Clue: Microsoft's grip on the UK market is even tighter than its grip in
> the US -- the Mac platform never caught on over here.

My cousin who went to Oxford says that Mac is huge there.

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