Re: POL: Reaction to Microsoft Ruling

From: Charlie Stross (
Date: Mon Apr 10 2000 - 10:24:39 MDT

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 ...
> > (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.

> > 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.

-- Charlie

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