Re: POL: Reaction to Microsoft Ruling

From: Michael S. Lorrey (
Date: Mon Apr 10 2000 - 09:56:41 MDT

Charlie Stross wrote:

> 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?

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.

> 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 ...)

Extra-territoriality again. They gonna send the Foreign Legion into the US to
arrest Bill Gates?

> > 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.

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.

> > 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.

Which under GATT are nothing.

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