EU cautioned on any Microsoft break-up

A former U.S. justice official who tried to break up Microsoft seven years ago has urged the European Commission to tread cautiously if it tries to do the same.

European Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes, frustrated by what she sees as Microsoft's defiance of the law, recently raised the question of whether the U.S. software giant should be broken up.

But one of the American architects of a previous break-up bid says Europeans should proceed cautiously, if at all. So far there are no indications that could happen, and experts consider it unlikely.

The European Commission, Europe's top antitrust regulator, has never broken up a company for abusing its market dominance, although it has required major divestments by firms seeking permission to merge.

The former U.S. official and other legal experts say the EU executive could theoretically impose such a solution on Microsoft as the price of doing business in Europe.

View: news.com

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33 Comments

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Iam english the overwhemling majority of us could'nt give a damn for the EU. If it wasn't for microsoft we would be in a mess at least we have a operating system. if it was up to the EU we would still be using typewriters. Never heard of large scale piracy over here.

Yeah, the Peoples Republic of Great Britain is responsible for the worlds piracy ring.

Forget China, Russia, Lebanon, Brazil, Mexico, Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, India, Pakistan ... its the damn British and Germans!

SimpleRules said,
Yeah, the Peoples Republic of Great Britain is responsible for the worlds piracy ring.

Forget China, Russia, Lebanon, Brazil, Mexico, Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, India, Pakistan ... its the damn British and Germans!

They're stealing too. No one said or implied it's just an EU thing.

chilliadus said,

They're stealing too. No one said or implied it's just an EU thing.

How are we stealing in any where near those numbers?

We have it fairly under control.

Yeah ok EU like you have the power to break up an American company. Time to look for a new source of revenue. How the EU can consider Microsoft a criminal yet think there's nothing criminal about their pathetic cash grab is beyond logical reasoning.

They could only break up the European branch. In order for a comapny to be recognized in the EU, it must incorporate in their system, and thus abide by their rules if it wants to have operations there. The EU couldn't do anything about MS in the U.S. I'm not an expert in this, but I suspect if they had no HQ in Europe, and simply sold their products there through other distributors, the EU wouldn't be able to do a thing. There are good reasons to have operations there, of course, so this is unrealtistic.

It's only the EU's righteous indignation coming into play. If Microsoft cowed to them and said, "Oh yes, we'll do anything you say. Just don't beat us!" they wouldn't be so p!ssed off. It's the fact that Microsoft is dragging their feet that's making the EU so irritated. I certainly don't blame Microsoft, though. I don't think any governing body should have the power to compel me to divulge my company's IP for my competitors. It's ludicrous.

Governments are meant to work for the good of the People they govern. As such, the EU considers that having a virtual monopoly on the OS market is not a Good Thing for the People. Microsoft's "rights" come second to those of the people.

eAi said,
Governments are meant to work for the good of the People they govern. As such, the EU considers that having a virtual monopoly on the OS market is not a Good Thing for the People. Microsoft's "rights" come second to those of the people.

Define what's "good". Should we go communism where "everyone works for the society and gets his/her fair share from the society"?

I'm hoping the EU hand down another good decision, remember when they got all ****y about all the British football (soccer) matches being on 1 pay-TV station, well the EU said that is wrong, and now I have to pay 2 seperate TV stations just to get the same amount of games ... well done EU, thats definatley looking out for us!

kezzzs said,
What two stations are these?

Sky Sports and Sentanta ... I think the cost comes to around £28 a month now, over the £18 or something Sky charge.

Does the EU just have nothing else to do? You rarely/never hear of a single good thing they have ever accomplished. All it looks like is a European Mafia bent on trying to cause trouble in any situation it sees fit.

I consider this a Good Thing. Even if you love Microsoft with all your heart, surely you can see that having more competition in the software industry can only benefit the users by encouraging innovation? It might damage Microsoft slightly as a company, but in the long run it'll benefit users.

What good would breaking up microsoft be? You would have two companies to deal with instead of one. That also wouldn't change how the half who does windows operates.

It'd prevent the anti-competitive behavior - bundling all the MSN services with Windows for example.

EU: "microsoft is anti competitive, so were gonna break them up so that theres no competition at all"

SOUNDS LIKE A GOOD IDEA!?

Even if they were to be broken up, it wouldn't solve anything. The smaller sections that are split off would become just as powerful as the original and they'd all merge back together at some point. Look at AT&T.

Every other company in existance is anti-competitive. All any company and individuals developing software can do these days is b*tch and moan that they can't compete. They never stop to consider that noone wants thier POS software.

^^ lol :p

but more to the point, i don't think breaking up a company is the solution. Just let the market decide, it's tough, but so is life

XerXis said,
^^ lol :p

but more to the point, i don't think breaking up a company is the solution. Just let the market decide, it's tough, but so is life :)


The regulators have decided that the market can't decide, the market decided and the regulators are still trying to make things more "competitive" for that non existing competitor to MS. Linux is getting close but not ready yet, Apple, well Apple will always come second to MS since Billco is constantly stealing all of Apple's good ideas :P

z0phi3l said,
Apple will always come second to MS since Billco is constantly stealing all of Apple's good ideas :P

If those ideas are so great that Microsoft is supposedly "stealing," then why is it tha Apple's not on top?

Skwerl said,

If those ideas are so great that Microsoft is supposedly "stealing," then why is it tha Apple's not on top?

Because Microsoft is stealing them... as he said...

eAi said,
Because Microsoft is stealing them... as he said...

And if they are present in both company's products, why has one done so much better than the other? Roll of the dice? Maybe those "stolen" ideas aren't worth so much after all, and it's something else.

And Apple steals plent of stuff as well, so shouldn't that level the playing field? (P.S. I like Apple products, but the PR and fanboys annoy me)

Comment Predictor v1.1 (Beta)

User 1: Europe needs to shut the **** up, Why aren't they picking on Apple.

User 2: Microsoft should just pull out of Europe. That'll show those pesky Europeans!

User 3: Europe is broke. They're just trying to squeeze money out of MS!

User 4: If they want to sell in Europe, they should abide by European laws.

User 5: I'm the voice of reason. All calm down so we can have a group hug.

User 6. MS could buy Europe if they wanted to, so quit hating and shut the **** up!

SniperX said,
Comment Predictor v1.1 (Beta)

User 1: Europe needs to shut the **** up, Why aren't they picking on Apple.

User 2: Microsoft should just pull out of Europe. That'll show those pesky Europeans!

User 3: Europe is broke. They're just trying to squeeze money out of MS!

User 4: If they want to sell in Europe, they should abide by European laws.

User 5: I'm the voice of reason. All calm down so we can have a group hug.

User 6. MS could buy Europe if they wanted to, so quit hating and shut the **** up!

what a load of "insert your own words here"..

Anyhow..

1. If microsoft wants to operate in the EU then it must work within EU law.

2. The current spat is about server documentation - or the lack of.

3. Its taken to 2006 to have a open and standard document format - yet M$ decides to create its own version.

4. we need a open and standard mail storage format. Plus standard connectors.

5. Monopolies aren't good - look at the stagnation and non correctiveness that ie6 has caused for web designers.

6. Microsoft would fail badly if it had competition.

SniperX said,
Comment Predictor v1.1 (Beta)

User 1: Europe needs to shut the **** up, Why aren't they picking on Apple.

User 2: Microsoft should just pull out of Europe. That'll show those pesky Europeans!

User 3: Europe is broke. They're just trying to squeeze money out of MS!

User 4: If they want to sell in Europe, they should abide by European laws.

User 5: I'm the voice of reason. All calm down so we can have a group hug.

User 6. MS could buy Europe if they wanted to, so quit hating and shut the **** up!


It's funny because it's true.

All this anti-european crap is funny.

Idiots. You do realize Microsoft would loose billions if it pulled out of Europe.

If they want to get European $$$ then they have to follow European laws.

All Hail Bill! I think he should buy Cuba. We could tie relations back with them and there would be no more Castro. Or better yet, buy Mexico and get the sweet sweet oil. Could be a myth about the oil, at least the USA would be double sized.