Source AP ©

Microsoft case boosts EU's lead role in regulating leading companies

The lost case of Microsoft means that U.S.-based multinationals will continue to face tougher competition rules in Europe than at home, legal experts said.

Many U.S. companies hoped that the EU's Court of First Instance would take steps to restrain the European Commission. Instead, Microsoft on Monday lost its appeal of a European antitrust order that obliges the technology giant to pay a $613 million (EUR442 million) fine, share communications code with rivals and sell a copy of Windows without Media Player. The EU Court agreed Microsoft was guilty of monopoly abuse in trying to muscle into server software.

This likely cements Europe's role as the lead international regulator of dominant companies, said M.J. Moltenbray, a partner at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP.

"In global markets, the antitrust policy that matters is the most restrictive one," she said.

The ruling could also lead to tougher legal regimes in developing countries such as China and India, which are just beginning to develop their antitrust laws, Moltenbray said. Many developing countries may model their laws after the EU's more restrictive regime, Moltenbray said.

The international scope of the EU's role was reflected in the Microsoft case in that it was a U.S.-based multinational, Sun Microsystems Inc., rather than a European company, that brought the initial complaint in Europe.

"Microsoft's rivals ... haven't been able to get the constraints they wanted out of U.S. courts, so they're trying to get them out of the European Union," Keith Hylton, a professor at Boston University School of Law, said Friday.

The EU court's decision is unlikely to have a direct impact on Microsoft's antitrust case in the United States, Moltenbray and Hylton said. The Justice Department's case against the software company is narrower and unlike the EU's ruling, does not bar bundling applications such as Windows Media Player.

Still, a group of states led by California is seeking to extend a consent decree reached between the Justice Department and Microsoft, which is scheduled to end in November, for five additional years. Lawyers said they expect the EU court's decision to be cited in a written request for the extension, due Oct. 15.

More than 5.8 million people voted for Nicholas Maduro at the presidential election in Venezuela. This is more than a quarter of registered voters. Why did those people vote for the man, who, as Western media write, took Venezuela to the brink of collapse?

Venezuela may expect another Panama scenario from 1989
Comments
Russian air defences ready to shoot down NATO drones and reconnaissance aircraft over Crimea
Ukraine's exit from Commonwealth of Independent States will affect common Ukrainians most
Russian air defences ready to shoot down NATO drones and reconnaissance aircraft over Crimea
Russian air defences ready to shoot down NATO drones and reconnaissance aircraft over Crimea
Russian air defences ready to shoot down NATO drones and reconnaissance aircraft over Crimea
British football fans spineless to unleash World War Three in Russia during World Cup
Russian air defences ready to shoot down NATO drones and reconnaissance aircraft over Crimea
British football fans spineless to unleash World War Three in Russia during World Cup
Beautiful and terrifying: Russia shows video of Bulava ICBM underwater salvo launch
Kremlin on failed nuclear missile tests: 'Listen to President Putin and believe him!'
Kremlin wants foreign invaders out of Syria
Kremlin on failed nuclear missile tests: 'Listen to President Putin and believe him!'
What may happen to foreign tourists traveling for 2018 World Cup in Russia
Kremlin on failed nuclear missile tests: 'Listen to President Putin and believe him!'
Russian special services detain Hizb ut-Tahrir members in Crimea
Russian special services detain Hizb ut-Tahrir members in Crimea
Foreign Ministry official explains why Russia had to sell Alaska to US
Russian air defences ready to shoot down NATO drones and reconnaissance aircraft over Crimea
Just Words on Scraps of Paper
Just Words on Scraps of Paper
SWIFT refuses to cut Russia off, even if Washington insists