Re: POL: Reaction to Microsoft Ruling

From: Charlie Stross (
Date: Thu Apr 13 2000 - 03:18:35 MDT

On Tue, Apr 11, 2000 at 09:46:29PM -0400, Michael S. Lorrey wrote:
> Literally by your intepretation, yes, however the US has never brought
> an anti-trust suit against a foreign company. Considering the weight of
> corporate systems like the keiretsu, etc. as monopolistic enterprises,

Out of curiosity, have any of the keiretsu ever achieved a monopoly
position in the USA?

As I understand it, anti-trust law is applied within a nation-state by
that nation-state's government, with respect to the market within that
state's jurisdiction. A company can be nailed in a specific country
under anti-trust statutes even if it is based elsewhere -- but its
external headquarters is probably immune to direct action; all it loses
is access to that market, or a hefty fine and/or regulation if it wants
to continue trading there.

> fail to see how the Justice department could tolerate a foreign national
> government monopoly bringing anti-trust action against a US corp

It would be anti-trust action against a US corp for monopolistic
activities in that nation's own jurisdiction.

> (especially in light of how nice we have been to the French with their
> desire to retain monopoly on the words 'Champagne' and 'Burgundy' for
> their particular trade items that have been quite well duplicated
> elsewhere.)

Ahem: Champagne and Burgundy are _regions_ of France. Their produce
is appelation controlee, meaning it's graded by quality. This is to
some extent a hold-over from the agricultural age, and you'll note the
tendency to name modern wines by the grape they're produced from -- which
isn't a controlled designation.

I seem to recall a bit of give and take in this whole argument (which in
any case is neither yours nor mine, but a governmental wrangle); for example,
Anheur-Busch are still allowed to call their product "Budweiser" in most
parts of Europe (although in the Czech republic and Switzerland "Budweiser"
is an apellation controlee and AB's product isn't brewed in the right way or
the right place to carry the name "Budweiser").

> If the French were so keen on developing a 'viable' competition, why did
> they not develop a Frogosoft corporation to compete with MS, as they did
> to form Airbus to compete with Boeing (interesting Seattle parallel)?

Ahem. How much of Airbus is government owned? I seem to recall some rather
large shareholders that are private companies, like British Aerospace ...

I guess you're just sore because Airbus is outselling Boeing 60/40 at
present, without the hidden subsidy of military R&D contracts ;-)

-- Charlie

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