Re: POL: Reaction to Microsoft Ruling

From: Michael S. Lorrey (
Date: Thu Apr 13 2000 - 06:56:36 MDT

Charlie Stross wrote:
> 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.

My point exactly, but you and Zero seem to think that some european
court is gonna issue an arrest warrant to the FFL to apprehend Bill
Gates from his pad in Medina and that the US Gov't is just gonna sit
idly by and let this shit go on.

The keiretsu acheived some 35% control of the US auto market at one
point, but at the same time they acheived control of almost 60% of the
auto parts market. Their underpricing of autoparts caused a lot of
businesses to go out of businesses (not quite the same as giving away a
browser for free, but close).

> >I
> > 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.

If someone in California makes wine that is indistinguishable from
champagne to a panel of tasters in a double blind test, it is champagne,
and they should be free to call it that. Accepting the claims of the
French for 'cultural heritage', when that 'heritage' is nothing more
than a desire to maintain their elite attitude as being the 'superior
culture' of the planet is ludicrous.

> 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").

Frankly I side with the Czechs. Budweiser (american) sucks. It would do
us good to make them produce their products to a quality standard (any
quality standard, just name one...)

> > 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 ;-)

So the government subsidy of the workers benefits packages isn't a

Mike Lorrey

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